Gyeongnam FC demands apology from LKP

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Gyeongnam FC demands apology from LKP

Korean pro football club Gyeongnam on Monday demanded an apology from the county’s main opposition party over improper campaigning inside their home stadium, saying it will need to be held morally and legally responsible if the club receives a punishment.

Gyeongnam released the statement after officials from the conservative Liberty Korea Party (LKP), including chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn and by-election candidate Kang Ki-yoon, campaigned inside Changwon Football Center in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, for the April 3 by-elections ahead of the K League 1 match against Daegu FC on Saturday.

“We will try to receive an apology from the LKP for forcing us to face a dishonorable situation,” Gyeongnam said. “If we receive a punishment, the LKP election camp that violated the league rules must bear responsibility legally and morally for our fans and people of South Gyeongsang.”

Under Korea Football Association (KFA) and K League laws, election candidates and party officials can enter the stadium after purchasing a ticket at their own cost. But they cannot wear any clothing displaying a candidate’s number and name, as well as a party’s name and emblem. The rules also prohibit them from distributing any kind of pamphlets or cards containing political messages and showing their slogans and banners.

The violation of such rules can result in a team slapped with a 10-point deduction, playing a home match behind closed doors and a fine of more than 20 million won ($17,580).

Gyeongnam, last year’s K League 1 runners-up, said their staff members were fully aware of the rules on campaigning after receiving notification from the K League, the operator of Korea’s football leagues.

“Our security staff told Hwang and Kang’s camp members that they could not enter the stadium with outfits printed with the party’s name, the candidate’s number and name,” the club said. “But some officials shoved their way into the stadium, ignoring ticket inspectors and didn’t take off their jackets.”

After the LKP camp members and security guards engaged in a quarrel, the Gyeongnam staff told the party officials that they were in violation of the rules, but they ignored them and campaigned inside the stadium.

The K League said it will hold a meeting later Monday to decide whether the case should be reviewed by its discipline committee.

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