South Korean footballer to get Olympic medal
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A South Korean footballer who inflamed tensions with Japan by displaying a political banner after the third-place match at the London Olympics will get his bronze medal, the IOC decided Tuesday.
Park Jong-woo was issued with just a warning for his actions after his team's 2-0 victory over Japan, the IOC executive board ruled. The South Korean Olympic committee will also be warned and required to educate its athletes about competition rules.
Park must receive his medal "without fanfare or publicity," as a condition of the sanction, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said.
The IOC withheld Park's medal after the Aug. 10 incident pending a disciplinary hearing, which was held Monday in Lausanne.
Park displayed a sign in national colors after the bronze medal match in Cardiff, Wales, which was played amid sensitive diplomatic relations at home.
The slogan said "Dokdo is our territory" in Korean to support his country's sovereignty over islets also claimed by Japan.
IOC and FIFA rules prohibit on-field political statements, but South Korean officials argued Park had not planned a protest and merely picked up a banner thrown on the field by a fan.
"It was obvious he didn't make a political statement," IOC disciplinary panel chairman Thomas Bach told The Associated Press. "He was very fair with a Japan player who was sitting on the ground weeping after the match.
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