07/28/2010, 00.00
NORTH KOREA
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Pyongyang: football team publicly humiliated for their losses at World Cup

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
Footballers are subjected to a six-hour dressing down by an audience of 400. The worst criticism was that they betrayed “the trust of Kim Jong-un”. Coach is expelled from party and sent to work on a construction site in the capital.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – North Korea’s football team were subjected to a six-hour public reprimand by 400 sports students and officials for betraying “the trust of Kim Jong-un” by losing all three of their World Cup matches. The coach was apparently sent to work on a construction site in the capital Pyongyang, but the players are thought to have been spared any specific punishment.

The dressing down supposedly occurred on 2 July on a stage at the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang, three days after they returned from South Africa, sources told Radio Free Asia.

The team's two Japanese-born players, Jong Tae-se and An Yong-hak, were exempt from the session; they apparently flew directly to Japan.

Sports Minister Pak Myong-chol was in the audience that criticised the players.

Ri Dong-kyu, a sports commentator for North Korea's state-run Korean Central TV, pointed out the mistakes of each player.

The reprimand especially focused on North Korea’s 0-7 rout at the hands of Portugal, which also eliminated North Korea in 1966.

Afterwards, players criticised coach Kim. According to rumours, the latter was expelled from the party and sent to work at a construction site in Pyongyang."

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