Lee Sang-min (23, Seongnam FC), who was previously disciplined for drunk driving, was named on the Korean men’s soccer team to participate in the Hangzhou Asian Games in September of this year, causing controversy. 

On the 14th, Hwang Seon-hong, coach of the national soccer team, announced the final list of 22 players who will participate in the Asian Games. Foreign players such as Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart), Hong Hyun-seok (Ghent), and Park Kyu-hyun (Dinamo Dresden) made their names. 

In addition, domestic players with experience in the adult national team such as Song Min-gyu (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Eom Won-sang (Ulsan Hyundai), and Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon Sangmu) harmonized.

Drunk driving caught and concealed three years ago… Received a ’15 game suspension’ punishment, 

coach Hwang Seon-hong said that he had formed the best members, and expected a gold medal, but controversy broke out in an unexpected place. He selected Lee Sang-min, a defender with a history of being caught by the police while driving drunk. 

Lee Sang-min, a former youth representative, made his professional debut with a lot of attention, but in May 2020, while playing for K-League 2 Chungnam Asan, he was caught by the police while driving drunk.

However, Lee Sang-min did not inform the club of this, and he only reported it to the club after playing three more games, escalating the situation. At the time, the Korea Professional Football Federation imposed a suspension of 15 official games on Lee Sang-min and a fine of 4 million won.

Lee Sang-min, who moved to Seongnam this season, has consistently played in the game, and also participated in the U-23 Asian Cup, where he was noticed by coach Hwang Seon-hong. He seems to have been highly praised for his ‘multiplayer’ ability to play both a defender and a midfielder in international competitions with many variables. 

Korea is a strong gold medal candidate. If he wins the gold medal again, he can receive military service benefits. In past competitions, Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), Cho Hyun-woo (Ulsan Hyundai), and Kim Min-jae (Napoli) benefited.

Are grades a priority? Repeated ‘national team qualification’ controversy 

However, even if the gold medal is important, the drunk driving is not enough, so the athlete who covered it up is a national representative, and controversy follows whether it is okay to receive military service benefits. 

It is not the first time that the controversy over the ‘qualification’ of the national team has been raised. Just a month ago, head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, who leads the national team, also selected Park Yong-woo (Ulsan Hyundai), who was disciplined for racist remarks, in an A-match, and controversy arose. 

It’s a different sport, but the baseball team that participated in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) last March was also exposed to the fact that some players were drunk during the tournament, causing a stir in the sports world.  안전놀이터

In the end, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), at the board of directors held on the 12th, prepared a rule that could deprive the national team of more than one year of qualifications and reward points, greatly strengthening the punishment for players’ deviant behavior.

In the midst of this, coach Hwang Seon-hong is raising eyebrows among football fans by selecting a player with a history of drunk driving and concealment.

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