Former FIFA World Cup star Lee Chun-soo will return to the top division football league in South Korea this season after officials on Friday decided to grant the much-maligned footballer a second chance.
Lee, 31, will join Incheon United in the first-division K League Classic, officials said. He had been on the league’s banned list after his abrupt departure from another K League Classic team, Chunnam Dragons, during the 2009 season. Those on the list need permission from their previous team to play in the league again.
|Lee Chun-soo (File photo)|
The Dragons gave him the green light and promptly traded him to Incheon, Lee’s hometown club.
The Dragons said they accepted Lee’s apology for his past trouble and “respected” opinions of fans and football officials who wanted to see Lee back on the pitch.
Lee had an acrimonious split with the Dragons in June 2009. He refused an assignment to the team’s reserve squad and left the club without permission, but not before getting into shoving matches with his coaches.
Lee had joined the Dragons on loan from Dutch club Feyenoord.
While still under contract, Lee signed a separate deal with a Saudi Arabian team, Al-Nassr, a move that further angered the Dragons’ management team.
He spent two seasons in Saudi Arabia and then two more in Japan, playing for Omiya Ardija.
After 2011, Lee turned down an extension offer from Omiya so that he could play again in South Korea. In October last year, Lee visited the team’s home stadium and apologized to fans for his past misdeeds.
Under increasing public pressure since the start of this year, the Dragons finally relented. (Yonhap News)