Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Korean fans object to political meddling in football

The Red Devils, the South Korean national football team’s official supporters’ group, is refusing to accept free tickets allocated to them to attend the 14 August match between the South Korean and North Korean football teams at the 65,000-seat, Seoul World Cup Stadium because the organising committee has banned the waving of the South Korean flag and the chanting Taehanminguk! (“Republic of Korea”).

"We are a supporters’ group for the South Korean national team. No more, no less. The group doesn’t want to engage in a political event. And we cannot cheer for the South Korean team as much as we’d like because of the ban," a group spokesperson said. But that will not stop the members of Red Devil from cheering for the South and North Korean teams as individuals, she told The Korea Times.

The football match is part of a series of north-south joint celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japan’s 35-year-long colonial rule on 15 August 1945. The Republic of Korea in the south and the Communist-controlled Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea in the north have been separate ever since.

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