South Korean soccer played Park Jong-woo received a two-game suspension on Monday for his controversial celebration following his country’s bronze medal victory at the Summer Olympics in London.
FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, notified the Korea Football Association of Park’s suspension and a fine of $3,781. The KFA also received a warning from FIFA for its “failure to properly instruct players” on proper conduct.
Whether Park will receive his bronze medal still remains uncertain, as FIFA’s final decision is expected to be made as early as Tuesday. Reports in Korea indicate that a two-game suspension is relatively a light sanction by FIFA’s standards and hints that the player will eventually collect his medal. FIFA’s regulations even stipulate that players who receive suspensions under three games cannot appeal the decision.
After South Korea’s 2-0 win over Japan in the bronze medal game of the Summer Olympic Games, Park displayed a sign which read, “Dokdo is our land,” in Korean. Dokdo is the name Koreans use to identify the islets located in the East Sea, while Japan identifies it as Takeshima. The territorial dispute between the two countries reached new heights when President Lee Myung-bak became the first ever Korean leader to visit the islets in August.
Park, whose celebration stirred up further controversy between Korea and Japan, was withdrawn from the medal ceremony at the Olympic Games as the IOC and FIFA prohibit political actions from athletes.