November 20, 2015 13:17
Korea's dramatic win over Japan in Thursday's Premier 12 semifinal at the Tokyo Dome has been somewhat overshadowed by criticism of the way the tournament has been run.
Many Korean fans have taken to online forums to vent their fury at decisions they said were unfair and lacking in common sense. The Korea Baseball Organization has also drawn fans' wrath for failing to take the Japanese organizers to task.
The Premier 12 is a baseball tournament organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation involving 12 top-ranked nations.
Fans say the Premier 12 was planned and managed strictly in the interests of co-host Japan. While other participating countries each played at least one day game -- with some playing as many as three -- Japan was the only country whose games were all played at night, due to broadcasting contracts and the influence of Japanese corporate sponsors.
Korea was particularly disadvantaged by the tournament's schedule. While the other countries played all their preliminary-round games in Taiwan, Korea had to play the opening match in Japan and then fly to Taiwan.
Furthermore, Korea was not notified of the time and venue of the quarterfinal game until after all the group-stage games in Taiwan had been played. That venue was then belatedly changed due to a fire, forcing the Korean players to travel for an additional two hours by bus to a substitute venue.
Another complaint was that the semifinal, initially scheduled for Friday, was moved to Thursday at the last minute after Japan emerged as Korea's opponent. The training session at the Tokyo Dome was then scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, meaning the players had to get up at 3:30 a.m. on that day to fly from Taiwan to Japan.
KBO official Jeong Keum-jo said, "We took the issue up with the organizers and complained many times, but every time they asked for understanding for the sake of a successful tournament. Not a single meeting involving all participating countries was held during the competition; all decisions were made and announced unilaterally by the organizing committee."
But fans demanded to know why the KBO did not do more to protest. KBO secretary-general Yang Hae-young said, "It is true that there were many situations during this tournament that defied common sense. We will make it clear that unless these issues are rectified in future tournaments, we will take strong action, possibly including a boycott."
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