After scandal hits military team, a new goalie arrives

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After scandal hits military team, a new goalie arrives

The K-League’s Sangju Sangmu Phoenix, a football club comprised entirely of military soldiers, is about to get a new reserve goalkeeper after three of its four goalkeepers were indicted in a match-fixing scandal that rocked the sport last month.

The Sangju, North Gyeongsang-based team revealed last week that goalkeeper Lee Sang-ki of Suwon Samsung Bluewings has decided to do his military service and will be eligible to join the military’s athletic squad late this month. Because Sangmu is comprised of footballers doing their mandatory military service, the team can’t select a player who is not a soldier.

Lee turned pro after signing with Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma last year, but has yet to actually play in a K-League game. He did, however, play in five matches last year in the R-League, a league for reserve K-League players, and transferred to Suwon this year.

A Sangmu official told the Ilgan Sports that although Lee is currently the sole player to fill the military club’s goal-keeping void, the team has yet to confirm if he will officially join because there could still be more applicants with one more day to apply to play on Sangmu. The club will announce its new goalkeeper next Monday.

Lee will also have to pass a medical exam on Thursday to play behind starting goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae. If Lee successfully passes the medical exam and the rest of the procedures, he will begin basic military training immediately and can start playing football again on Aug. 4.

Sangmu has been struggling badly since last month. Amid a match-fixing scandal that rocked the country’s top football division, the team that once topped the league is now 13th in the 16-team K-League table, thanks in large part to a six-match losing streak.

Sangmu was hit the hardest by the match-rigging scandal. Of the 46 active and former K-League players who were indicted, the Sangju club lost nine players, more than any other team. And its head coach, Lee Soo-cheol, was arrested by military prosecutors last Monday after being accused of blackmailing and taking cash from the players’ parents to overlook the player’s match-fixing activities.

Last weekend against FC Seoul, Sangju was even without Kwoun, who was serving a one-game suspension, and had to play defender Lee Yoon-eui in front of the net. It was the first time in K-League history that a defender played as goalkeeper in a full 90-minute match. Though Kwoun returned to defend the goal against Busan I’Park FC on Saturday, Sangju had no goalkeeper to back up him and still had Lee Yoon-eui as its reserve goalkeeper.

Meanwhile, other K-league teams that lost players after the match-fixing scandal have also found new players to fill up empty roster spots. Busan, which lost four defenders, has already signed four new defenders. Daegu and the Chunnam Dragons have promoted reserve team members.


By Kim Hyo-kyung, Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [일간스포츠]
상주 상무, 골키퍼 보강한다
상주 상무가 골키퍼 고민에서 벗어날 수 있게 됐다. 지난 6일 K-리그 선수를 대상으로 한 골키퍼 모집 신청자가 나왔기 때문이다. 수원 삼성 골키퍼 이상기(24)다.

상주 구단 관계자는 "국군체육부대로부터 이상기가 입대지원서를 냈다고 연락받았다. 아직 날짜가 남아 있기 때문에 추가 신청자가 나올 수도 있다. 선발 인원이 1명이라 좀 더 지켜봐야 한다"고 전했다. 신청마감일은 19일이며 21일 실기검사 및 체력측정을 한 뒤 26일 최종합격자가 발표된다. 이 관계자는 "프로축구연맹이 공시한 선수 추가등록마감일이 28일이다. 합격자는 곧바로 현역병 신분이 되며 아시안컵 차출로 빠진 최효진, 10월 입대하는 신병들과 함께 훈련소에 입소할 예정"이라고 밝혔다. 추가 선발 선수는 다음달 4일 R리그 경기부터 곧바로 출전이 가능하다.

이상기는 지난해 성균관대를 졸업했으며 올시즌 전 정성룡과 함께 수원으로 이적했다. 1군 출장기록은 없으며 R리그(2군)에서만 지난해에는 5경기에 나섰고, 올해는 4경기에서 7실점했다. 수원은 골키퍼가 5명이나 돼 비교적 여유가 있었다.

나쁜 소식만 전해지던 상주 구단으로서는 반가운 소식이다. 상주는 승부조작과 관련해 3명의 골키퍼가 군 검찰에 구속되거나 불구속 기소되면서 권순태(27) 혼자서 1,2군 경기를 모두 치렀다. 지난 9일 K-리그 17라운드 서울전에서는 권순태가 퇴장으로 인한 징계로 출전하지 못해 수비수 이윤의(24)가 골문을 지키기도했다. 추가 선수가 합류하기 전에 열리는 16일 제주전과 23일 부산전까지는 이윤의가 대기명단에 이름을 올린다.

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