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Hanwha Eagles decide to hold onto Lee Sang-kun

The Korean baseball club Hanwha Eagles said Tuesday they will keep interim manager Lee Sang-kun for the remainder of the season.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club has been without a full-time manager since the dismissal of Kim Sung-keun on May 23. Lee, then a pitching coach, assumed the interim role, and the Eagles at the time said they’d try to name Kim’s replacement as quickly as possible to stabilize the clubhouse and the dugout.

But the Eagles have not been able to deliver on their earlier promise and decided to stick with Lee for 84 more games, which includes Tuesday’s game.

The Eagles’ general manager Park Jong-hoon said he has given himself more time to go through candidates carefully and select the right person. Park added it should also expand the pool of candidates. The Eagles weren’t going to approach active managers or coaches on other teams during the season and now plan to do so during the winter.

“Coaches with other clubs can all be potential managerial candidates for Hanwha,” Park said. “Lee Sang-kun has agreed to take on an extremely difficult job, and we’ll try to give him as much support as we can the rest of the season. And he can be our candidate, too.”

For the season, Lee will manage 101 games, one shy of a record by an interim manager in the KBO. Kim Woo-yeol set the record in 1995 by managing the now-defunct Ssangbangwool Raiders as the interim boss for 102 games.

The team has gone 6-11 on Lee’s watch. At 24-36 overall, the Eagles are in eighth place among 10 teams, seven games out of a wild-card spot.

They’ve not been to the postseason since 2007.


FIFA president congratulates Korea on a ‘fantastic’ Cup

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said Monday Korea hosted a successful Under-20 World Cup, congratulating local organizers and thanking people for their support for the men’s youth football tournament.

Korea staged the U-20 World Cup from May 20 to last Sunday in six cities and welcomed 24 teams. Infantino landed in Korea on Saturday to watch the final between England and Venezuela, and to meet with football officials here.

“It was fantastic,” Infantino said of Korea’s first U-20 World Cup hosting. “We all felt it was great and a big success. And the football was great as well.”

This was Infantino’s second visit to Korea since he became the chief of the world football governing body in February 2016. He previously visited the country in April 2016.

Infantino also met with Korea Football Association (KFA) President Chung Mong-gyu, who was also the chief organizer of the U-20 World Cup, at the KFA House in Seoul. It marked the first time since 1999 that a FIFA chief visited the Korean football governing body’s headquarters.

“We talked about how Korean football can be an example and help the countries in the region as well as other parts of the world for football development,” Infantino said.

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