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S. Korea military to discontinue soccer competition

All Headlines 11:58 February 09, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's military will discontinue its annual soccer games from this year amid controversy over squandered costs and troop resources, the defense ministry said Thursday.

South Korea's Army, Navy, Armed Forces and Marine Corps have jointly held the soccer tournament since 2014 as part of efforts to boost morale and promote unity among troops following a series of shooting accidents and rights abuse cases, a ministry official said.

But the event has drawn controversy. Up to 30 soldiers were dispatched to each team and underwent one to two months of soccer training. As a result, many units remained short-staffed, he said. The event also suffered from a lack of budget.

The decision also reflects the military's resolve to focus on its duty amid heightened tensions as North Korea continues to escalate saber-rattling. It conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile launches last year.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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