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Korean Football Association Lacks Vision

Posted August. 11, 2005 03:05,   


The main reason of Korean professional football`s backwardness is the Korean Football Association’s (KFA) incompetence. The organization has no basic principle as to what its mission is for developing the K-League. The near-sighted organization is now unable set this year`s vision for the league.

Some episodes of the association`s incompetence include:

1. The KFL was just an onlooker in early 2005 when the Korean Football Association and FC Seoul disputed over whether to summon Park Ju-Young to the Korean National Team. The KFL must be afraid of criticism by either side of the two organizations for favoring the other. It is impossible under this situation to expect the organization to function, and the organization deserved criticism for this.

Frustration over Free Agent and Draft System; Creating Rules Nobody Will Observe-

2. In 2004, at the request of some clubs, the KFL expanded the free agent system, which was initially adopted in 2001, to all players. The organization, however, is moving towards limiting new rookies` movement as their salaries skyrocket, and is set to revive the draft system. Frustrated, it produced a set of rules such as, “All rookies are subject to receiving 50 million won annual salary with no signing money,” which is simply absurd.

3. Before the Korea-Japan World Cup in 2002, at a press conference, journalists asked Kim Won-dong, then the general director of the KFL and the president of the organization now, about its measures to sustain the professional football league`s popularity that was expected to come after the event, unlike what happened in 1998 when the organization was unable to sustain the league`s sudden popularity. Kim answered, "You do not have to worry about it. Since the World Cup is held in South Korea, there will be sustainable popularity for K-League. The whole situation is different now." Just as he expected, the K-league prospered; but its popularity was short-lived once again.

4. The president of the KFL has been considered as being simply in a position to promote the organization`s image. Kwak Jung-hwan, the owner of Sungnam Ilhwa, and the one who was appointed as the president of the organization earlier this year, promised that he would do his best to promote professional football in Korea. But he acted exactly opposite. He retained some cabinet members who, every team owner said, spoiled professional football. He is not appearing in his office at KFL office these days.

Korean Football`s Future Doubtful Without Firm Determination to Start All Over -

Is there any reason for the organization to exist? Kang Joon-ho, a professor of Sports Management at Seoul National University, said that the KFL should continuously be aggressive in promoting and marketing soccer. Lee Yong-soo, a sports commentator for KBS and a professor at Sejong University, said, "Without a firm determination to scratch from the ground again, the future of Korean soccer will be doubtful."

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com