The referees turned a blind eye and the Korean Football Association (KFA) turned a deaf ear. From questionable officiating to blatant cover-ups, the quality of refereeing in Korean soccer has gone downhill.
Another major officiating controversy has erupted in the K League. This time, a player intentionally hit an opponent, but the referee and VAR turned a blind eye. Even the KFA responded with a ridiculous explanation and no punishment. Neither the player who assaulted the opponent nor the referee who turned a blind eye to the incident were held accountable.
Here’s what happened. In the third minute of the match between Ulsan Hyundai and Incheon United at the Munsu Soccer Stadium in Ulsan, Korea, Lee Kyu-sung (Ulsan) swung his right arm and hit Moon Ji-hwan, knocking him down. It wasn’t the inevitable result of a ball-contested situation. Lee Kyu-sung looked directly at Moon Ji-hwan’s face and swung his right arm nervously. Moon Ji-hwan fell to the ground and screamed in pain.
The umpire’s whistle was silent. He was not far from the ball, and his view was not obstructed. Even if the referee hadn’t seen the incident, and even if he hadn’t blown the whistle, there would still be questions about his quality.
The same goes for the VAR room, which should have caught it. It was replayed on a slow screen. VARs can be used in situations where a sending-off decision needs to be discussed. But there was no on-field review, where the referee watches the video and confirms it himself. Either the VAR’s office didn’t make a recommendation, or the referee let it slide.
Even the Korean Football Association reportedly recognized the call as problematic. However, since the KFA has taken over all refereeing duties, including the K-League, they could only pass on their opinion. All eyes are now on the KFA Referee Evaluation Committee.
The KFA swept the matter under the rug with a ‘ridiculous explanation’. Given the angle and speed of the arm swing, it was a ‘pushing action’, the committee said. It was not an unavoidable situation such as a contested aerial ball, but a violent act with intent, whether it was a punch or a shove, and the KFA turned a deaf ear to the rising public opinion.
No wonder the KFA is being laughed at by the soccer world. A club official said, “It was a deliberate assault regardless of the ball. The explanation that it was a push or a punch is just ridiculous. I think we need to tell the players, ‘This level of assault is now acceptable. 토토사이트
The bigger issue is that this is not the only time the quality of referees and the KFA’s management of them has been a problem. There have been a number of controversial calls this year alone. However, most of them have been swept under the rug. The referee who was disciplined for a major blunder in the Gangwon-Seoul game has only been back for a month.
The results of the Referee Evaluation Committee, which was once published directly by the KFA, have long since disappeared. There is no way to confirm whether a controversial call was wrong or right. Moreover, the previous chairman of the referees’ committee is being investigated for misconduct, and the vacant chairman position has been filled.