East Asian Cup football games to air on JTBC

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East Asian Cup football games to air on JTBC

JTBC, the television network of JoongAng Media Group, said yesterday that it has won the exclusive right to broadcast the East Asian Cup.

The four-nation football competition, to be held in Korea next month, is the fifth edition.

Launched in 2003 by the East Asian Football Federation, the 10-member football governing body in the region, the Cup pits regional powers against each other, including the three fixed participants, Korea, Japan, and China.

The three key members have rotated in hosting the event, which was held at two- to three-year intervals. Korea, which hosted the second edition in 2005, will host the latest edition at three venues ? World Cup Stadium and Jamsil Sports Complex in Seoul as well as Hwaseong Sports Complex in Gyeonggi.

It started as a men’s competition, but a women’s event has been added since the second edition. Both the men’s and women’s competitions include a winner of the qualifying round. This year, Australia will enter the men’s event, while North Korea qualified in the women’s event.

It’s unclear whether North Korea will send its women’s team to the event, amid lasting geopolitical tension between the two Koreas.

EAFF officials said that they haven’t yet received any notification from the North that they will not come.

“We are preparing for the East Asian Cup, thinking that they will come,” said an official of the Seoul office of the EAFF, referring to the North Korean women team. North Korea sent both its men’s team and women’s team to the 2005 event, which was held in the South.

EAFF officials said North Korea has participated in both the men’s and women’s qualifying round in all of the previous events. The North Korean men’s team qualified for the main event twice, in 2005 and 2008. The North Korean women’s team also qualified in 2005 and 2008.

South Korea is seeking its third title in the men’s event and a second title in the women’s. The South Korean men’s team won in 2003 and 2008 while its women’s team won the inaugural title in 2005.

China claimed two other titles in men’s event, while Japan won the other two events in 2008 and 2010. The North Korean women’s team finished as the runner-up in 2005 and 2008. The North Korean men’s team finished third in 2005, its best finish.

The competition this year will start with a women’s event between Japan and China at 4:15 p.m. on July 20. The South Korean men’s national team will kick off its campaign against Australia at 7 p.m. on July 20, then play against China on July 24 and against Japan on July 28. In the women’s event, the two Koreas will meet on July 21.

By Moon Gwang-lip, Won Ho-yeon [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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