“We need to improve the perception of Korean soccer. It’s not just about being good at soccer. Look at the disabled seats.”
That’s what coach Hong Myung-bo said. On June 6, Ulsan Hyundai traveled to Suwon Sports Complex for their 17th round match of the Hana OneQ K League 2023.
In a pre-match interview, he made an unusual comment. An Ulsan away fan in a wheelchair was sitting on the edge of the stadium watching the players train before the game. Hong said, “Look at the disabled seats. Just because he’s an away fan…” Hong trailed off and said, “They say human rights are getting better and better, but the soccer world also needs to improve. The awareness of the disabled needs to be improved.” He raised his voice.
The conditions for watching soccer were not ideal. A fan in a wheelchair had to watch the game from a narrow space with a makeshift fence. “I couldn’t even get a clear view of the game,” said Hong, who bent down to watch the game himself. “I asked Suwon FC to move the seats. I’m not asking for special treatment because I’m disabled. This should be improved. I was also surprised,” he said strongly.
In response, a Suwon FC official said, “The spectator later moved to the away section. There are no accessible seats in the away section. He watched the game from the aisle.” “Usually, we put up a fence on the ground for people in wheelchairs. The spectator wanted to watch the game from the away end. Coach Hong asked us to take action.”
The club was fully aware of the issue. They weren’t sitting on their hands, but they weren’t doing anything about it. They had to face the reality of the situation. “The stadium was built a long time ago. There were no accessible seats in the first place.” “The club is aware of the problem and is trying to take action. We are in constant communication with Suwon City Corporation, but it was difficult to take immediate action. We had no choice but to provide temporary seats.” 먹튀검증
Meanwhile, the match between Ulsan and Suwon FC, which was also the retirement match for Park Joo-ho (36), ended in a 3-1 victory for Ulsan.