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K-League bans players from national team event

Jan 17,2007
Even though it’s the off-season, Korea’s professional soccer league has refused to let its players compete for the national team in a tournament at the end of the month. That means the squad probably won’t compete in the eight-team friendly invitational tournament in Doha, Quatar.
In the past, individual clubs have declined to let their players compete, but this is the first time all 14 clubs have declined.
The owners of the K-League teams made their decision on Monday. Yesterday, officials with the Korea Football Association met with a committee from the K-League, but the decision did not change.
Kwak Chung-hwan, president of the K-League, said the soccer league could not release its players from practices to compete on the national team. Professional teams have complained that they cannot have efficient practices with their key players gone during the off-season.
Korean rules state that the national Olympic team can call up players on professional clubs for four days prior to friendly games in the year before the Olympics are held. Until now, the Football Association has consulted with the clubs on calling up players, using the regulations as a rough guideline.
Kim Ho-gon, an official with the Football Association, said yesterday that the clubs and the association had failed to narrow their differences, saying there was little the association could do. The participation of professional players in friendly games needs to be decided upon with a consensus between the K-League and the Football Association.

By Jeong Young-jae / Brian Lee JoongAng Ilbo / Staff Writer
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