The K League, ignored again by the ‘jolting administration’… Soccer fans’ anger boils over

August 7, 2023 | by

“Is it okay to ignore soccer fans like this?”

This is the complaint of a user on the Jeollabuk-do government’s public communication board. This is because the venue for the 2023 Saemangeum World Scouting Jamboree K-pop concert was decided to be Jeonju World Cup Stadium, and the damage is being directed at Jeonbuk Hyundai and the K League. Since the news broke, there have been more than 100 posts on message boards criticizing the hasty administration.

Fans’ outrage began when Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Bo-gyun announced on June 6 that “the Jamboree K-pop concert will be held at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on the 11th.” Initially, the K-pop concert was scheduled to be held at the Saemangeum Jamboree site on the same day. On the 7th, it was reported that the K-pop concert was also being considered for the Sangam World Cup Stadium in Seoul.

The problem was that Jeonbuk had two home games scheduled before and after the concert. Jeonbuk was scheduled to play an FA Cup quarterfinal against Incheon on the 9th and a K League game against Suwon on the 12th, but the concert was scheduled in the middle, making it impossible to play both home games. This is because it is impossible to operate a normal game due to the installation and dismantling of facilities such as stages and the condition of the grass.

The FA Cup quarterfinal match between Jeonbuk and Incheon, scheduled for September 9, was eventually postponed. The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced the postponement in an official statement, saying, “It was determined that normal operations were not possible.” Whether or not Jeonbuk-Suwon will be held on Wednesday is undecided. Not only will Jeonbuk’s players and fans be affected, but so will Incheon and Suwon, as well as other teams that were preparing for the game. The ‘jamboree sparks’ have reached the K League without warning.

Procedures were also on the chopping block. Earlier, the jamboree organizers reportedly asked Jeonbuk CEO Heo Byung-gil about the possibility of holding the concert on May 5, the day before the concert schedule was announced, and Heo responded by saying he would cooperate. However, the analysis of “de facto notification” prevails. “It was an urgent situation at the national level, so Mr. Heo could not have said no unconditionally,” the official explained. This also explains why Jeonbuk Governor Kim Kwan-young said the day before that he was “very grateful for the cooperation of Jeonbuk for the K-pop concert”.

In other words, the organizers chose Jeonju World Cup Stadium as the venue for the concert even though they knew that the damage to K League clubs and fans would be inevitable. This in itself is criticized as a complete disregard for the K League and its fans. Jeonbuk fans voiced their criticism of Governor Kim Kwan-young, who made the announcement under the guise of “cooperation” with the Jeonbuk club, with slogans such as “Mr. Kwan-young, cooperation?” “Joe Jim as ‘Kwan Park’?” and “Spoil the jamboree, spoil Jeonbuk”.

To make matters worse, some fans added fuel to the fire. Lawmaker Lee Yong-ho, who represents Namwon, Imsil, and Sunchang in Jeollabuk-do, wrote on social media (SNS), “The entire nation is doing everything in its power to make the jamboree a success. As a Jeonbuk politician, I am ashamed and disappointed to hear that some soccer fans have rejected the event. The attitude and reaction of Jeonbuk fans is even more difficult to understand. As a Jeonbuk resident, I am just devastated,” he wrote, but eventually deleted the post after receiving a lot of criticism. The jamboree concert that started it all suddenly became a possibility to be held in Seoul instead of Jeonju. Soccer fans are bound to be outraged.

This isn’t the first time a K League club has been denied a home game for ridiculous reasons. Recently, Busan I-Park was “passed over” by the city of Busan for a friendly match in honor of the Busan Expo bid. The friendly match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Doon Jeonbuk, whose parent company is Hyundai Motor Group, which is supporting the Expo bid, was held in Busan. During the prayer match for the Busan Expo bid, the Busan team and fans were ignored, and a skit occurred in which PSG and Jeonbuk played a friendly match. In addition, Busan has already had to give up its home stadium for concerts and A-matches on numerous occasions.

Moreover, the K League’s disrespect for the Jamboree has been repeated again, and the soccer world is sighing. A soccer official said, “The disrespect for the K League and soccer fans continues. If they had any respect for the K League, it wouldn’t have happened. I just feel sorry for them.” 메이저놀이터


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