(WFI) South Korean footballer Park Jong-woo will be awarded his London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medal six months after his post-match political protest caused outrage.
The 23-year-old controversially completed a lap of honor holding a banner with “Dokdo is ours” printed on it following his side’s victory over Japan in the bronze medal-match at last year’s Olympics.
But today he received just a strong warning from the IOC Executive Board. The EB has ordered the Korean Olympic Committee to submit an educational program for its athletes to ensure they respect the rules of the Olympic Charter.
The IOC barred the midfielder from attending the medal ceremony after officials said the banner breached rules against political demonstrations at the Olympics.
FIFA later banned him for two international matches and fined him 3,500 CHF despite claims that the action was not premeditated.
“The Executive Board has informed the KOC to deliver the bronze medal to Park as long as it is done without any fanfare or publicity of any kind,” IOC communications director Mark Adams said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“The player had already been sanctioned by FIFA and a number of extenuating circumstances were taken into account,” Adams continued.
“It was decided that this was a spontaneous and not a pre-planned action. The Executive Committee also took into account the players sportsman like behavior to the Japanese players after the match.”
Korea’s occupation of Dokdo, also known as the Liancourt Rocks, has been fiercely opposed by Japan for decades with both countries laying claim to them.
The incident came just one day after South Korea President Lee Myung-Bak made a controversial trip to the island, angering Japan.
Jong-woo, who is a regular for K-League side Busan IPark, was in Lausanne for the decision along with Korea NOC president Park Yong-sung.
South Korea and Japan have both disputed Dokdo’s sovereignty, with the issue causing constant friction between the two Asian nations. It is believed there is frozen natural gas underneath the surface of the island worth billions of dollars.
By INSIDER’s Nick Winn
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