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National team vows to watch Hwang’s case…criticized for turning a blind eye to ‘loss of dignity’

The national soccer team’s decision to allow Norwich City striker Hwang Eui-jo to play in an official match after being accused of ‘illegal filming’ has come under fire.

The criticism centers on the fact that Hwang failed to maintain his “dignity” as a national team member.

Hwang was substituted for Cho Kyu-sung (Meatwillan) in the 27th minute of the second Group C match between South Korea and China at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in Guangdong province, China, for the 2026 North American Football Confederations Cup Asia Second Qualifying Round.

Hwang’s appearance came just days after police summoned him for questioning as a suspect in the case of illegally filming a sex video with his ex-lover.

After being questioned by the police on the 18th, Hwang participated in an open training session with fans that afternoon, and traveled to Shenzhen, China, on the 19th to train with the national team.

On the morning of the match, the victim of the “alleged illegal filming” incident issued a statement refuting Hwang’s claim that the video was consensual, but coach Jürgen Klinsmann played him anyway.

A post on the Korean Football Association’s X-tweet celebrating the team’s 3-0 win over China was followed by comments condemning the decision to send an accused sex offender onto a nationally televised pitch.

Klinsmann said after the game: “I’m aware of the controversy, and I know it’s a process until the allegations are clarified. I can’t say there’s anything wrong or guilty right now, so I think it’s the role of a coach to help them perform on the field.”

He added: “In my 40 years of soccer, I’ve seen a lot of issues, speculation and incidents. Until there’s clarity, I’m going to say that I want to keep my players on the field.”

The Fifa’s position is similar, with the organization saying it has discussed the matter with Klinsmann.

An official from the KFA said, “There are no confirmed facts yet to decide what to do with Hwang Ui-jo. The police are still investigating the matter, so we will handle it carefully while watching the progress.”

The implication is that it is not yet time for Klinsmann to intervene and decide on Hwang’s future.

In fact, according to Article 17 of the national soccer team’s operating regulations, which stipulates the grounds for discipline and disqualification, players can be disciplined for intentionally defaming the national team or explicitly violating the operating regulations and training norms.

In addition, various cases where discipline has been confirmed through judicial rulings or fairness committees are listed as reasons for disqualification.

There is no provision for athletes who deny the allegations, such as Hwang Eui-jo.

However, Article 6 states the obligation to ‘maintain dignity’.

As a representative of the country, each athlete must refrain from any behavior that degrades them and maintain social responsibility and morality.

While there is no specific explanation of disciplinary action in case of violation, other sports organizations have used this “maintenance of dignity” clause as the main basis for determining the disposition of athletes deemed to have caused social disgrace.

In the sports world, there are calls for a strict interpretation of this clause in the Hwang case.

Jung-hoon Heo, a professor at Chung-Ang University and co-chairman of the sports civic organization Sports Citizens’ Alliance, said, “Drunk driving, gambling, drugs, and sexual misconduct are issues that the Korean public sensitively views as anti-social. Even before a conviction or disciplinary action is finalized, it can be widely seen that the mere fact that the issue is raised has damaged dignity,” said Heo.

He added, “It is preferable to suspend the player from participating in the game and consider it in the future by the Fairness Commission.” “In particular, soccer is a sport loved by the people and has a great influence on the youth. We need to be more strict about decency.”

“It’s true that I filmed sex (with my ex-lover), and it came out through whatever channel,” He said, “and of course the person who leaked it should be held legally responsible. “But regardless of (the individual’s) guilt or innocence, you have to ask yourself if this is a good example for young people.

This “duty to set an example” was the rationale cited by the French government when 2022 Ballon d’Or winner and world-class striker Karim Benzema (Al Ittihad) was arrested and charged in November 2015.

Benzema was accused of conspiring with a group of people to extort money from teammate Mathieu Valbuena (Apollon Limassol) over a sex video.

Public opinion was so bad at the time that Prime Minister Manuel Valls recommended he be banned, saying that “a national team member should be an example to others,” a recommendation that was upheld by the French Football Association in December of that year.

Benzema was not reinstated to the national team until 2021, six years later. The charges were finalized in June of last year when Benzema lost his appeal.

Klinsmann has been a public advocate for players who have gotten into trouble outside of soccer.

In June, he showed his support by naming Son Jun-ho to the national team after he was arrested by police in China’s Liaoning province and is being investigated in custody.

At the same time, when Park Yong-woo (Al Ain) was at the center of controversy for making racist comments on social media, Klinsmann, who called him to the squad, said that “everyone can make mistakes.” 토토사이트


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