South Korean soccer player Park Jong Woo faced the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in a disciplinary hearing on Monday. The footballer stirred controversy in the London Olympics last summer by unfurling a banner with a political message in South Korea’s bronze-medal match against Japan.
Football’s world governing body FIFA has previously banned Park for two games and issued a fine of 3,500 Swiss francs in December. As part of the IOC’s initial reaction, they had asked Park to not attend the medal ceremony and his medal is still being withheld. The IOC will decide on Park’s fate at a board meeting Tuesday.
At the London Olympics where the South Korean team beat Japan 2-0, Park raised a banner proclaiming his country’s sovereignty over an island chain in the Sea of Japan known as Takeshima to the Japanese and Dokdo to Koreans. After their bronze medal match, Park displayed a placard that said, “Dokdo is our territory”.
FIFA and the International Olympic Committee strongly prohibit any display of political messages during international competitions. At that time, FIFA has called his actions unsporting behavior and “cannot be tolerated”. They also warned the Korean Football Association that if any similar actions happen again, the governing body would be forced to implement harsher penalties.[via Kyodo]