Unchecked power corrupts with a high probability.
Jürgen Klinsmann’s South Korea lost 0-2 to Jordan in the quarterfinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Qatar 2023 at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, on Sunday morning at 0:00 a.m. ET. South Korea was eliminated from the tournament, while Jordan advanced to the final.
South Korea was trying to reach the top of the tournament for the first time in 64 years. If things had gone the way we hoped, many soccer fans could have witnessed the spectacle over the Lunar New Year holiday. However, under Klinsmann, South Korea failed to fulfill its potential and ended the tournament without a single shot on target against Jordan in the quarterfinals.
In soccer, results can go either way. Strong teams can stumble, and underdogs can pull off miracles. But as a general rule, the favorites are more likely to win and the underdogs are more likely to lose.
In this quarterfinal, South Korea was the clear favorite. The FIFA rankings, which show South Korea at No. 20 and Jordan at No. 80, are one indication of that, and they have players like Son Heung-min, Kim Min-jae, Lee Kang-in, and Hwang Hee-chan who have played on the world’s best stages. However, Klinsmann was unable to produce a masterpiece, and they lost.
A team with no power and no bad players lost. The coach was responsible for the defeat, and the system that led to the appointment of the coach was responsible for the defeat. And the current system of Korean soccer, including the selection of the head coach, is corrupt.
The Korea Football Association, which oversees the national team, has been under the leadership of Chung Mong-kyu since 2013. While there have been some positives, such as cleaning up the mess at the beginning of his tenure, it”s hard to find them in recent years.
From 2018 to 2020, it was a completely different story. Chung Mong-kyu empowered current Malaysia coach Kim Pan-gon to serve as vice president of the KFA and chairman of the national selection committee, and current Ulsan HD coach Hong Myung-bo to take on administrative duties as executive director of the KFA.
When it came to the selection of the A team’s head coach, the two men had a clear set of criteria and principles in mind when they selected Paulo Bento. Kim’s press conference explaining the reasons for the appointment to those who had doubts is the stuff of legend.
There are both positive and negative opinions of Bento’s performance leading up to the 2022 World Cup. Both can be respected. But either way, few would deny that Bento’s appointment and subsequent era operated under a unified system.
But after the two men left the KFA, power was concentrated in the hands of Chung Mong-kyu. Klinsmann was appointed without a system, and the result is what we see today.
In 2023, he attempted to surprise and pardon people, including match-fixers, one hour before an A-League match. In a sport where fairness is the number one 토토 value, the president denied it and insulted it. In fact, it makes no sense for him to remain in office after committing such an act, but that’s exactly what happened.
On August 8, Klinsmann said during his arrival interview, “I don’t know why the public opinion is not good right now. I’m just disappointed that I didn’t win the championship,” he said in an out-of-body experience, while angry fans chanted, “Is this soccer?” The problem of a manager appointed without a system was further exposed.
Klinsmann’s suspension is urgent, but the penalty is reportedly high. The fact that it requires the approval of President Chung Mong-kyu, among other things, underscores the current unelected and arbitrary power structure of the KFA.
Unchecked power corrupts with a high probability. Even if it doesn’t, the luck is limited. We hope that the right choices will be made through the system rather than relying on luck after the arbitrary decisions of a few people, but it does not seem easy in the current system.