Panda Cup controversy

It is not often winning an Under-18 mini tournament can get so much attention but that's exactly what happened in the last week. This was down to the fact South Korea won the Panda Cup and he doing so managed to offend half of Asia. 

What is the story 

I understand to people who have lived their whole life in Asia and grew up with certain beliefs and understanding of respect this story caused offence. Meanwhile, I know that many people from a Western background cannot understand what all the fuss is about.

Let me first explain the story, the Panda Cup took place last week and was hosted in Chengdu, China this year. The U18 round-robin competition, had South Korea, Thailand, and New Zealand joining their Chinese hosts.

Then on Wednesday last week, the Koreans defeated the hosts 3-0 in the final of the Panda Cup. The win itself was fine the young Koreans were the deserved winners but that was not to be the end of it all. What happened next is what caused much upset around China and much of Asia.

The cause for the upset was the fact that when celebrating with the cup a Korean player put his foot on the trophy. The player in question is reportedly named as Park Kyuhyun although I can not shed too much more light on the youngster than that.

Stripped of the cup

After this episode, the internet in China was awash with fans in outrage over the incident. According to the BBC, the subject attracted 59 million views on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform.

The reason for this is that a trophy should be shown respect and to put your foot on shows a high-level of disrespect. As for example, one tweet from @RiascosgK read "Now I am really angry. Those South Korean u18 players should be ashamed of their rudeness and ignorance. It doesn't really matter to me whether you are the champions if you disrespect Panda Cup, your opponents and China as the host. See how Son Heung-Mi and Park Ji-Sung behave!"

The story than over the next few days grew and grew with the whole of China and much of the Asian footballing world from my understanding insisted that the Koreans should be stripped of the title. That is exactly what did happen to the following day after the match. 

This came after the side made a series of apologies as they said sorry "all the people in China". Their actions were clearly misfortune and in poor taste considering their surroundings. 

What to make of it all 

I have to say when I first saw the picture emerge I thought it was much to do about nothing and could not understand the fuss. Over time, however, I understand in a lot of Asian cultures to put your feet on a trophy like this is very disrespectful. 

It does make you wonder then why these young Korean players did this as players from an Asian culture they must have known it would cause offence. In the photo, they are laughing and joking but if they really knew the trouble they could cause am sure they would have celebrated in another way. 

I have since had discussions through the means of social media with people from around Asia on this topic. I was told that this was very disrespectful but they did understand from a westerners point of view why I would find the whole thing a bit over the top. 

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