South Korea's football association rejects a united Korean team for the Asian Games

The KFA(Korean Football Association) has rejected a proposal of having a United Korean represent the country at the 2018 Asian Games which will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia. The reason given by the football association is that they want to boost teamwork within the existing squad, which is understandable with the number of tournaments Korea is about to be involved in. First the World Cup, then the Asian Games, and at the start of next year the Asian Cup.

After the success of the United Korean women’s Ice Hockey team in this year’s winter Olympics, there seems to have been some clamour for Korea to play with more united Korean teams. So the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Seoul recently asked 40 national sports federations whether they would be willing to participate with North Koreans as a United Korean team.

After a historic meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un the two sides of the Korean divide agreed to participate in some international sports competitions as a United Korea. This included the up-and-coming Asian Games competition.

Football has been one sport which has brought the two Koreas closer together in recent times but the KFA said after its executive meeting that a united team would require unwanted sacrifices on the players part, especially the male footballers and could prove detrimental to their future careers.

Even though the idea of a United Korean football team sounds appealing in theory, especially to leftist liberals who will no doubt believe the idea to be some utopian dream; the reality is that a lot of players from North and South Korea would not get the chance to show their talents in an internationally recognized tournament. If only one team was to compete then how would you be able to decide who would be taken to the finals, and who wouldn’t as there would most likely only be 23 spaces in the squad?

As was seen with the ice hockey, maybe in some sports there is a place for a United Korean team, but at this moment in time, the KFA is correct that the time is not right at the moment to have a United Korean football team.

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