‘Drunk driving controversy’ Seongnam’s Lee Sang-min left off final roster for Hangzhou Asian Games

Seongnam defender Lee Sang-min (left) (Courtesy of the Korea Football Association)

The Korea Football Association (KFA) has removed Seongnam FC defender Lee Sang-min from its final roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games, following his controversial drink-driving arrest.

“The KFA humbly acknowledges that in the process of selecting players for the Asian Games, which was announced on the 14th of this month, we selected a player who did not meet the rules of the national football team,” the KFA said in an apology, adding, “We promise to do our best to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future by overhauling the administrative system.”

Hwang Sun-hong, head coach of the Hangzhou Asian Games football team, announced the final 22-man roster for the Hangzhou tournament, which kicks off in September, at the Jongno-gu Football Hall in Seoul on Thursday, including defender Lee Sang-min.

Lee was previously arrested by police on May 21, 2020, while playing for Chungnam Asan in the K League 2 (second division), for driving under the influence of alcohol. He even played in three games without informing his club, causing even more controversy.

At the time, the Korean Football Association held a punishment committee and imposed a 15-match suspension and a 4 million won fine on Lee. After completing his punishment, Lee continued to play in the K League and was selected for the Hwangsun Hongho, where he played six official matches.

The fact that Lee Sang-min wore the Taeguk mark was a mistake due to the KFA’s lack of regulations.

According to the KFA, Lee was caught drinking and driving in May 2020 and was sentenced to a fine of 5 million won on August 5 that year for violating the Road Traffic Act.

According to Article 17 of the KFA’s National Football Team Operating Regulations, “Anyone who has been sentenced to a fine of more than 5 million won for an act related to drunk driving or other offenses and the sentence has not been finalized for three years shall not be eligible for the national team. Therefore, according to the regulations, Lee Sang-min cannot be selected for the national team until August 4, 2023.

Hwang Sun-hong, head coach of the Korean men’s soccer team at the Asian Games, announces the final roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games at the Jongno Football Hall in Jongno-gu, Seoul, Thursday.

In the end, the KFA bowed its head by announcing Lee Sang-min’s exclusion from the roster.

“The player was selected to the age-group national team despite the fact that he had been disciplined by the Korean Football Association for drunk driving while playing in the K League 2 since 2020,” the federation said, “and the relevant regulations were not properly reviewed in relation to this fact at the time of the first selection in 2021. For this, the association acknowledges that it was inexperienced in handling the relevant procedures,” he apologized.

The KFA acknowledged its administrative inexperience and problems and promised to take measures to prevent a recurrence.

“We will come up with various measures such as checking disciplinary history before finalizing the national team roster, requiring players to submit a pledge by referring to the cases of overseas countries, and allowing professional football clubs to check the history of problems when providing standard contracts,” the KFA said.

Hwang Sun-hong also apologized, saying, “The manager and coaching staff also deeply apologize for being careless in the process of selecting players,” and promised to pay closer attention to player selection and operations in the future.

Meanwhile, the KFA, which has already submitted the final 22-player roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games to the Korean Sports Ministry, has asked if it can select substitutes. 고스톱 According to the rules, substitutions to the final roster can only be made up to six hours before the first game and must be for injury or medical reasons.

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