FIFA seeks additional information on Korean's Olympic celebration
FIFA, the international governing body of football, is seeking additional information for its investigation into a Korean player's post-match celebration at the London Olympics, officials said Thursday.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) said FIFA's legal affairs division has given the Korean governing body an Oct. 27 deadline to submit any additional information in the case of Park Jong-woo.
The Korean midfielder became the subject of disciplinary investigations by FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in August in London, when he celebrated South Korea's victory over Japan in the bronze medal match with a sign that read, in Korean, "Dokdo Is Our Territory."
Dokdo refers to a group of South Korea's easternmost islets, to which Japan has also laid territorial claims.
According to a KFA official, FIFA's disciplinary committee at first sought information from its legal affairs division, which in turn contacted the KFA for help in the investigation.
FIFA had been scheduled to reach its disciplinary ruling on Park on Oct. 5 but postponed the decision. FIFA said at the time it would discuss Park's case again the following week, but no decision has yet been reached.
"I believe FIFA has been careful because this is an unprecedented case," the KFA official said. "Our chairman Cho Chung-yun will travel to FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, this week to meet with officials there and have further discussion on Park's case."
In London, Korea defeated Japan 2-0 to claim its first Olympic medal in men's football. Park, however, was barred from attending the medal ceremony and has yet to collect his bronze medal, as FIFA and the IOC deemed his celebratory action political.
The IOC's Olympic Charter prohibits any display of political statements by participating athletes, coaches and even fans.
Korean officials have backed the player, saying Park's action was not premeditated and he held up the sign, which was passed to him by a fan in the stands, in the heat of the moment.
FIFA will report its ruling, once reached, to the IOC, which will then use it as a reference for its final disciplinary action. (Yonhap)