Footballer Park Jong-woo awaiting result after IOC hearing on Olympic celebration
Published : 2013-02-12 09:13
Updated : 2013-02-12 09:13
After attending an International Olympic Committee (IOC) disciplinary hearing over his Olympic celebration here Monday, South Korean football player Park Jong-woo said he will calmly await its outcome.
The IOC's Disciplinary Commission held a meeting over Park's celebration after South Korea's 2-0 victory over Japan for the bronze medal in men's football at the London Olympics last year.
Park hoisted a sign that read, in Korean, "Dokdo Is Our Territory," in support of South Korea's sovereignty over its easternmost islets, to which Japan has also laid claims. Dokdo has been a source of diplomatic tension between the neighbors for years.
The IOC's Olympic Charter prohibits any display of political statements by participating athletes, coaches and fans during the Olympics. Park was barred from the medal ceremony and has not yet received a bronze medal.
After the closed-door meeting at a Lausanne hotel, which lasted over an hour, Park told a throng of journalists, mostly Japanese, that he'd done his part.
"I gave my best and fully cooperated with the investigation," the player said. "I expect a good outcome."
Park declined to answer further questions from the media as he left the hotel. He and accompanying attorneys had rehearsed their presentation in South Korea before leaving for Switzerland, as they tried to explain to the IOC members that Park's action had not been premeditated or intentional.
Park Yong-sung, the chairman of the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC), also accompanied the player to the meeting. Park Yong-sung told South Korean reporters that the player "did everything he could" before the IOC members at the hearing.
"The IOC members heard what Jeffrey Jones, Park's attorney, had to say, and some directed their questions to the player," the KOC chief said. "Some nodded their heads as they listened to the presentation. Even if we don't get the result that we want, we will accept it as our fate."
In December, FIFA, the international governing body of football, suspended Park for two matches and fined him 3,500 Swiss francs (US$3,810) for his "unsporting behavior." The penalty was so lenient that Park wasn't even allowed to appeal.
The IOC will use FIFA's decision as a reference when it issues its own disciplinary ruling.
The Disciplinary Commission will report its decision to the IOC's Executive Board, which will meet on Tuesday in Lausanne. The final disciplinary decision on Park is expected later Tuesday.
Though the relatively light punishment by FIFA has led to speculation that Park will eventually collect the bronze medal, South Korean officials have said that the IOC has adopted a "no-mercy" stance on political messages during the Olympics and that they're bracing themselves for disappointment. (Yonhap News)