Ki Sung-yueng Escapes Penalty for Badmouthing Coach

      July 11, 2013 11:43

      Footballer Ki Sung-yueng, who slandered former Korean national team manager Choi Kang-hee on his Facebook page, will not be penalized by the Korea Football Association.

      Ki Sung-yueng

      The KFA on Wednesday said officials met to discuss the matter and decided to issue a warning instead of penalizing the athlete, who plays for Swansea in the U.K.'s Premier League. KFA Vice President Huh Jung-moo said the KFA is responsible for failing to control a member of the national team and will apologize for stirring up controversy.

      "It is clear that he should not have made such comments as a public figure, but he apologized and has shown regret for what he said," Huh said. "We will make sure such an incident does not happen again."

      After Korea's match against Kuwait in February 2012, the third round of the Asian qualifiers for next year's World Cup, Ki wrote, “Now everyone should have realized the value of the players who play overseas. [He] should have left us alone, otherwise, [he] will be hurt."

      Ki was referring to Choi's disparaging remarks earlier about the Scottish Premier League, where he said the overall level of play is, with the exception of Celtics, not very high. Ki later apologized for his "mischievous and inappropriate remarks" and his father visited the KFA to apologize as well.

      Things are now likely to calm down, but football fans remain divided. The KFA's website was filled with comments criticizing the decision and saying it sets a bad precedent. But Ki's supporters said that although he should be sorry for what he said, the comments were made on a private Facebook page and was not a matter to be penalized by the KFA.

      Meanwhile, actress Han Hye-jin, who married Ki earlier this month, said in a press conference Wednesday marking the 100th episode of her TV talk show that people like her and her husband, who face the limelight, must be criticized for their transgressions. "Although we are both experiencing a painful time, we believe new opportunities will come for us to make a leap forward," she said.

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