Int'l football governing body postpones ruling on S. Korean footballer for celebrationBy Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- FIFA, the international governing body of football, has postponed its disciplinary ruling on a South Korean player for his controversial post-match celebration at the London Olympics, officials here said Saturday.
FIFA convened a disciplinary committee meeting Friday at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, to hear the case of midfielder Park Jong-woo. The 23-year-old came under the international spotlight in August in London, following his celebration of South Korea's bronze medal with a placard 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 the Korea Football Association (KFA), the sport's governing body here, FIFA failed to reach a conclusion during its Friday meeting.
"The disciplinary committee has decided to discuss Park Jong-woo's case again next week," the KFA said in a brief statement issued past midnight Friday, Korean time. "It has informed the KFA of this development."
In London, South Korea defeated Japan 2-0 to claim the bronze medal, 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 International Olympic Committee (IOC) deemed his celebratory action political.
The IOC's Olympic Charter prohibits any display of political statements by participating athletes, coaches and even fans.
South Korean officials have backed the player, saying Park's action wasn't premeditated and he held up the sign in the heat of the moment.
FIFA will seek to reach a ruling next week and report it to the IOC, which will then use FIFA's decision as a reference for its final disciplinary action.
South Korean officials have said Park will collect a monthly Olympic medalist pension, and that he will still be eligible for the exemption of mandatory military service granted to all Olympic medalists.