A South Korean footballer has received a ban from the national team after it was found that he had submitted false documents of his community service. Korea’s Football Association said earlier today that the documents had been submitted as part of his military exemption.
Jang Hyun-soo, who currently plays as a defender for FC Tokyo, had made several appearances for the national team, including one in the 2016 Olympics. The false documents have brought him a ban for life from the national team as well as a $26,000 fine.
The KFA said that this is to reinforce that anyone who sparks controversy cannot join the team. The association added that the ban was to prevent similar cases from happening in the future.
South Korean law states that all men must go through military service for 21 months. There is an exemption for those who win gold medals at big sporting events such as the Olympics and Asian Games.
Those who earn an exemption are required to complete basic military training that can last up to two months. They are also required to complete 544 hours of sports related community service.
The defender won the exemption four years ago after a win at the Asian Games. He later submitted a document which said that he had completed almost 200 hours of community service. But someone spotted something wrong in his document.
It was found that he had not really completed the hours of community service. The defender claimed he had held outdoor football lessons. The problem with his claim was that there was heavy snow that day.
Jang has already spoken about the controversy and apologized for what he did. He also said he would carry out his community service after the season. The controversy comes just weeks after military service sparked a big debate in the country.
Tottenham star Son Heung-min was in the news earlier this year when reports said the Asian Games were his last chance to avoid military service. Son Heung-min was part of South Korea’s World Cup team but they failed to get past the group stage.
Good results such as the win against 2014 champions Germany didn’t guarantee a military exemption for the World Cup team. The military exemption is only for those who win gold medals at the Asian Games or Olympics but there have been other occasions where the government has stepped in and granted the exemption. The 2002 World Cup team received a military exemption following a crazy run that took them all the way to the semi-finals.
The 2018 South Korean team needed a similar run or better to be even considered, according to experts. That didn’t happen but the Tottenham star was given the opportunity to compete at this year’s Asian Games.
Son Heung-min’s participation was a big topic during the event since it was his last chance. South Korea won the gold medal, helping the roster earn military exemption. South Korea’s team had won it in 2014 but the Tottenham star was not part of that team.
The military service and exemption has sparked a debate in recent months. In September, reports said the government would review its military exemption policies.