A photo of a Korean football player perched on a Chinese soccer trophy has gone viral in recent days.
On May 29, the image began circulating online, which captured a member of South Korea’s U-18 Men’s National Football Team treading on the trophy after defeating their Chinese counterparts in the final round of this year’s Panda Cup. Other team members reportedly made disrespectful gestures with the trophy, according to Tencent Sports.
The abovementioned photo was printed out and delivered to the China Football Association office by an anonymous and exasperated Chinese football fan, according to China Soccer Report. The fan included a note that read, “To all members of the association, when you get lazy at work, take a good look at this photo. We are a nation with dignity. Please win back the trophy. This is humiliating.”
The South Korea U-18 Men’s National Football Team apologized the day after the pictures went viral for disresepcting the trophy at this year’s Panda Cup, an annual soccer event hosting international U-18 men’s football teams in Sichuan province.
Watch below to see the young squad make a formal apology (VPN off):
“I hope our two country’s football associations will maintain friendly relations. Our team members won’t conduct similar behavior again... We apologize to all of the fans, [football] players and people in China,” the coach of the South Korean soccer team said in a solemn video, bowing when he finished.
Following the incident, the Panda Cup committee has decided to retrieve the trophy from the South Korean football team and the Korea Football Association will reportedly impose penalties on the team members involved, according to a report by China News.
This year marked the Panda Cup’s sixth installment, with U-18 men’s national football teams from China, South Korea, Thailand and New Zealand competing against each other at Shuangliu Sports Center in Chengdu. While the South Korea squad triumphed this year, the Chinese youth football team finished dead last.
[Cover image via Tencent Sports]