North Korea players in Italy

Han Kwang-song a name not many would have heard outside of fans of Italian football and North Korea. A mix is sure you would agree you would not expect to hear about. However, this is nothing to do with nuclear weapons or political propaganda but is instead about a very talented footballer who looks destined for the top. Han Kwang-song is a 19-year-old midfielder currently who plays for Cagliari and his on loan at Serie B side Perugia. 


We first broke a story about this young man in October you can click here to have a read. Since this was written interest in this young man as not changed. If anything the interest in the player has intensified, the issue, however, is the man is North Korean so this means life is not simple. In a report in the English newspaper the Daily Mail, they reported an update on the situation. You can find the link here to the story but the main aspect of this is that he seems to of been banned from speaking with the press by his own country and there is an issue with his wages. 


As talked about by From the Tofu Bowl the issue with this mans career is that North Korean laws rules state that the wages of any citizen working outside the country belong to their government. Therefore by paying the players wages, Cagliari are indirectly funding the North Korean government. To show the issue in a slightly bigger light last year in Italy they became one of five countries to ban a North Korean ambassador due to their pursuit of nuclear weapons. 


With the transfer window closed around Europe now, it would seem like Han Kwang-song will be able to play and enjoy his football till the end of the season but it will be interesting to see what happens next with the top European clubs keeping an eye on his development.  


The Italian club Cagliari are saying, however, there is no issue as they pay wages straight to their player and as with any player they have no control over what happens with those wages. It should also be made clear it is not known officially if Han Kwang-song pays any money back to his country at all. 


Although these stories have truth in them and were backed up by the fact Fiorentina where forced to withdraw an offer for North Korean winger Choe Song-hyok. Although after counsel and support from the Italian government Perugia was able to sign the player and he now playing football on loan in Serie C with Olbia Calcio.  


While North Korea look to improve footballers from the country and it appears are not stopping them playing abroad. There still seems to be a political minefield occurring when it comes to clubs signing them. It is hoped that the political aspect of North Korea does not get in the way of Han Kwang-song and Choe Song-hyok both having successful careers that their early promise definitely indicates is possible.  

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