The Pohang Steelers have beaten Jeonbuk Hyundai to the top of the Korean Football Association (FA) Cup, but there’s still one more off-field war to be fought. It involves a “substitution mistake” that occurred in the K League 1 match between the two teams. With Jeonbuk disputing the decision and claiming a forfeit from Pohang, the KFA said it would decide on disciplinary action after the FA Cup final.
The KFA concluded its match evaluation meeting on March 30. It reportedly received both Jeonbuk and Pohang’s submissions, as well as internal opinions from the referee evaluator and the punishment committee. The opinions of federation officials were also included, and they were reportedly split between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ on whether Pohang should receive a forfeit.토토사이트
Pohang tried to substitute Shin Kwang-hoon, who plays the same fullback position, for Kim Yong-hwan, who was injured in the 26th minute of the K League One 35th round away match (1-1 draw) against Jeonbuk last month 28, but the substitution board on the standby referee’s screen read “No. 3 (Kim Yong-hwan) out, No. 17 (Shin Kwang-hoon) in” instead of “No. 7 (Kim In-sung) out, Shin Kwang-hoon in”. Shin Kwang-hoon came on and Kim Yong-hwan left the field due to injury, but Kim In-sung continued to play. Jeonbuk protested afterward, and the referees overlooked it. Six minutes later, Pohang sent Kim In-sung to the bench and brought on Kim Seung-dae. Even though Kim Yong-hwan was off the field, Pohang played 12 players for six minutes.
Those in favor of Pohang’s forfeit cited the KFA’s regulations, which state that “if an ineligible player is discovered during or after the match and a complaint is filed by the opposing club within 48 hours of the end of the match, the club will be considered to have lost 0-3.” Others argued that Pohang should be held accountable for initially listing Kim In-sung as a substitute and allowing him to continue playing.
On the other hand, those who argued that Pohang’s forfeit was not fair mentioned whether Kim In-sung falls within the scope of ‘ineligible players’ as defined by the federation’s regulations. Ineligible players are defined as “all players who are not eligible to play at the time of the offense, including players who are not registered in the K League, players who are suspended due to accumulation of warnings or ejection, players who have been disciplined by the Punishment Committee, and players who have violated the foreign player restrictions. There is also a view that Pohang made a mistake and that the referees are more to blame, regardless of whether Kim In-sung should have been substituted. Article 3, paragraph 3 of the IFAB Laws of the Game also states, “If the player to be substituted refuses to leave, play shall continue.
Ultimately, it’s the analogous cases that will determine discipline. The closest analog is the game between Bayern Munich and Freiburg in the German Bundesliga last April. This game had almost the same substitution mistake as the Jeonbuk-Pohang game. In the 40th minute of the second half, Munich made a two-man substitution, but the referee mislabeled the substitute’s jersey number and lifted it up, which the players didn’t recognize. For about 20 seconds, Munich had 12 players on the field. Freiburg claimed a 0-2 forfeit for Munich, but the German Football Association (DFB) rejected the claim, stating that “the temporary presence of 12 players was essentially an error on the part of the referee”.
The professional league also agreed to discipline Pohang as a result, but is likely to dismiss the forfeit claim filed by Jeonbuk. However, a senior K League Baseball official said, “There are so many conflicting opinions that there may be some last-minute judgment variables.”
The Korean Football Association (KFA), which oversees referees, held a referee evaluation subcommittee on March 31, three days after the incident, and suspended all six referees who presided over the Jeonbuk-Pohang match for the rest of the season. “The referee’s mistake, which occurred in a situation where injured players were being transported, medical treatment around the stadium and player substitutions were taking place at the same time, can be called a human error, but it is difficult to tolerate in the K League 1, the highest level of Korean soccer,” said Lee Jung-min, chairman of the KFA’s referee committee.
Now it’s up to the professional league to decide what to do with Pohang. Pohang is in second place in the K League 1 with 60 points, with Jeonbuk trailing with 53 points (fourth place). Depending on whether or not they forfeit, they could be in line for a last-minute Asian Champions League (ACL) ticket.