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KBS cancels plan to broadcast footage of inter-Korean football match

South Korean public broadcaster KBS said Thursday it canceled a plan to broadcast a prerecorded video of this week's inter-Korean World Cup qualifier football match in Pyongyang after its arrival from the North earlier in the day.

KBS had earlier said it would consider airing the football footage at 5 p.m. Thursday on KBS 2TV after obtaining a North Korea-produced DVD delivered by the South Korean football squad that returned from Pyongyang early in the day.

South Korea and North Korea played to a scoreless draw before empty seats at Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang on Tuesday, as part of the second round of the Asian qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. There were no fans or journalists at the match, and it wasn't broadcast live in South Korea. On behalf of South Korean TV networks, KBS had pushed to broadcast Tuesday's match live, but negotiations with the North fell apart.


KBS didn't offer an official explanation about its decision to cancel the football program.

KBS has reportedly held further negotiations on the broadcasting rights fee after the game ended but has finally decided not to air the footage.

In this regard, an official from the Korea Football Association said: "The football DVD was examined but found to be not suitable for broadcast due to poor picture quality. We plan to ask for different footage through the Asian Football Confederation.

"Besides the picture quality, the rights to use the DVD footage for broadcasts have yet to be clarified. So we'll not distribute the footage to the media for now," the official said.

Son Heung-min, captain of the South Korean men's national football team, said the physical nature of the match took South Korea off their game.

"The opponents were pretty physical, and we exchanged some terse words," Son told reporters at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul.

Meanwhile, Yang Seung-dong, president of KBS, said the broadcaster will show part of the football footage on its news programs.

Yang made the remark in a parliamentary inspection session, saying the video sent from North Korea has a 4:3 aspect ratio, instead of a 16:9 ratio, and standard definition-level picture quality, rather than ultra-high definition quality.

Rep. Shin Yong-hyun of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party asked if the decision to cancel the football broadcast was linked to the poor sportsmanship of the North Korean players, but Yang denied it. (Yonhap)