Football: Coach of North Korea condemned to hard labor

Friday, August 6, 2010

According to Radio Free Asia, North Korean authorities are retaliating against players in the national football team who played in the 2010 World Cup. The team lost all three matches. It was only the second time that the North Koreans had qualified for the World Cup finals.

Members of the squad, excepting Japanese nationals Jong Tae-se and An Yong-Hak who were in their homeland, were publicly shamed in a Stalinist-style event where more than 400 people, including journalists and political leaders, insulted and humiliated the team.

DPR Korea Football Association logo. Credit: Asian Football Confederation
DPR Korea Football Association logo. Credit: Asian Football Confederation

Following the event, the team's coach Kim Jung Hun has been sentenced to hard labor following a speedy trial. "He will carry loads on a building site for fourteen hours a day," reports Le Figaro. He was found guilty of "betrayal of trust of Kim Jong-un", the son and heir of country leader Kim Jong-Il who determined the final team roster, and allegedly expelled from the Worker's Party.

In the past, national coaches have not returned to their countries following losses in the finals in the World Cup. In 1978, Mexican coach, Jose Antonio Roca would not return to his country following the elimination of the team in the first group stage. Like their North Korean counterparts who lost 7–0 against Portugal, the Mexicans had suffered a heavy defeat against Germany, losing 6–0.