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Football body willing to help beleaguered defender complete community service

All Headlines 14:01 November 08, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's football governing body said Thursday it is willing to support a beleaguered player to help him complete his community service.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) said it can support Jang Hyun-soo, who was recently banned for life from playing for the national team, to complete his remaining community service if the defender asks for help.

"We're looking for organizations where football players can do their community services," a KFA official said. "If Jang wants it, we can help him complete his service activities."

This file photo taken June 29, 2018, shows South Korean football player Jang Hyun-soo at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Able-bodied South Korean men are required to serve in the military for about two years. By law, all Olympic medal winners and Asian Games gold medalists are entitled to an exemption in recognition of their contributions to the country's reputation and prestige.

But those who earn the exemption still need to complete basic military training, which can take up to 60 days, as well as 544 hours of sports-related community service over 34 months. The law on community service was designated in July 2015.

However, Jang, who earned his military service exemption with a gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games, was recently caught fabricating his community service records. He received a lifetime ban from the national team by the KFA for his misconduct. He is also expected to get a separate punishment from the sports ministry.

According to the official, regardless of the KFA punishment, Jang still needs to do 196 hours of community service to complete his national duty. The 27-year-old, who plays with FC Tokyo, is expected to return home later this month to carry out his service.

Under the conscription law, military-exempt athletes can do some of their community service overseas but not more than 272 hours. And the athlete's goodwill activities overseas must involve a South Korean citizen.

This file photo taken Sept. 3, 2018, shows South Korean football players who won a gold medal at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia posing for a group photo at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

The KFA announced Wednesday that it will roll out community service programs for players who are exempt from military service.

Those who received military service exemptions with a gold medal at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia this summer, including Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min, are likely to be the first ones to experience the programs prepared by the KFA.

Among 20 footballers who won the Asian Games gold, so far Hwang In-beom is reportedly the only one who has signed up for community service. In order to start their basic military training and community service, the players first need to register at the Military Manpower Administration as sports personnel.


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