Wednesday, July 06, 2005

'Peace Cup' brings 8 teams to South Korea

The SunMoon Foundation is hosting the second Peace Cup in South Korea from 15-24 July. Eight teams from around the world will battle it out on the pitch to take home the prize of $2 million. The participants are: Seongnam Ilhwa (Six-time South Korea champions, owned by the Chairman of the SunMoon foundation), PSV Eindhoven (Holland), Lyon (France), Once Caldas (Colombia), Tottenham Hotspur (England), Boca Juniors (Argentina), Real Sociedad (Spain) and Sundowns FC (South Africa).

Son Byung Ho, former General Secretary for the Citizens Federation for the Unification of South and North Korea, now has the slightly shorter title of the Secretary General of the Peace Cup but his former experience has come in useful in his new role. "Dealing with North Koreans has helped me organize the Peace Cup," he told OhmyNews.

The organizers see the Peace Cup as becoming an important part of the international calendar and have hopes that it can one day be the unofficial World Club Championship.

"In 2003 we achieved a 14 percent share of the TV audience with SBS," said the Secretary General, "and this time we have better teams and the games will be shown around the world -- Eurosport and Telemundo in the United States and on South American TV and Super TV in Africa. If we can continue to improve the teams that we invite and improve broadcasting we will become bigger and better and one of the most important football tournaments in the world."

Around 3,000 Japanese fans are said to have bought tickets, 1,000 Tottenham fans are expected all the way from England, South African travel agencies have been selling package tours to the cup which has been advertised on television in the region.