Possible military service exemption of members of the Korean national football team has recently sparked controversy. The issue comes after the team brought the gold in the 2018 Asian Games. The Korean team’s coach has also kept mum, saying they didn’t discuss about the exemption during the games.
According to the national Korean law, athletes who successfully bring home gold from the Olympics or Asian Games may get exemption from military services. After winning gold in 2018 Asian Games, 20 members of the Korean national football team is eligible for the exemption.
While technically compliant to the law, a few sports fans have frowned upon their military service immunity. The whole fiasco has also forced Korean military leaders to look into the case before fully granting exemption to the players.
Meanwhile, Korean football team coach Kim Hak-bum said that military service exemption wasn’t part of the talks during the games. Kim said that most of the discussion were centered on their strategy and winning the matches.
“I’ve never talked about that,” Kim said. “I thought that issue couldn’t come ahead of our match. We only focused on winning games.”
According to Kim, the focus of the team was on getting the gold. They even had to distance themselves from the online comments during the games to maintain level-headedness and calm. Winning the highly coveted gold medal wasn’t an easy feat for the team who had to face Japan in the finals.
After the games, most players have proceeded on playing for their respective teams. Many of them might even play in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The national team could temporarily lose some of its most competent players if their military exemption is to be revoked, .
Difference in the players’ dynamics will not only affect future games, but also the football betting industry. It can make odds checking a lot more challenging and outcomes could be harder to assess. It remains to be seen how the issue of military exemption will eventually pan out as inquiry is still ongoing for the players.