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South Korean soccer player to get Olympic medal

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm •  Published: February 12, 2013
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A South Korean soccer player who displayed a political banner at the London Olympics will get his bronze medal back, the IOC announced 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. South Korea's Olympic committee will 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 match pending a disciplinary hearing, which was held Monday in Lausanne.

Park displayed a sign in national colors after the game 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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