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Gyeongnam loses campaigning fine appeal

Apr 20,2019
Korean football club Gyeongnam FC on Thursday lost an appeal over a recent penalty they received following illegal political campaigning inside their home stadium.

The K League, operator of the nation’s pro football, upheld an April 2 ruling by its disciplinary committee to fine Gyeongnam 20 million won ($17,580) for the club’s failure to stop members of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) from engaging in a campaign for by-elections.

Following its board of directors meeting, the K League concluded that the disciplinary committee meted out an appropriate punishment.

On March 30 at Changwon Football Center in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, Gyeongnam FC hosted Daegu FC in a K League 1 match. LKP Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn and by-election candidate Kang Ki-youn, among other party officials, entered the stands dressed in their official party jackets without tickets.

Under rules guiding the K League, the sport’s national governing body, election candidates and party officials are prohibited from wearing any clothing displaying the name of a candidate or a party at football stadiums. They must also purchase their own tickets to enter matches.

The league’s code of conduct emphasizes that its members must maintain political neutrality, which is in line with FIFA and Korea Football Association (KFA) ordinances that strictly ban any kind of political, religious and racial activities inside match venues.

The violation of such rules can result in a team being given a 10-point deduction, having to play a home match behind closed doors or receiving a fine of 20 million won or more.

Gyeongnam FC countered that their security staff did the best they could to keep LKP members from campaigning in the stands but that the party officials ignored the club’s warnings.

Gyeongnam can now make an appeal with the KFA, the sport’s national governing body, within the next seven days.

Yonhap