Kim, Naples, not a citizen: South Korea calls him up for military service

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The three-week training is also offered to internationally renowned athletes, with the advantage that they do not have to serve the 21-month prison sentence. But the case that has rocked coach Klinsmann is the arrest of Shandong Taishan midfielder Jun-ho Son for bribery

No one, absolutely no one, can escape military service in South Korea. Therefore, not even Min-jae Kim could escape. The Napoli defender, who was named Italian champion yesterday, cannot be available to his national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann for this reason. The player must complete the three-week training period, a symbolic duration compared to the usual duration required by law for sporting merit. South Korea will be without him in the friendlies against Peru on June 16 and El Salvador on June 20. The legislation is clear: all able-bodied males between the ages of 18 and 28 must serve 21 months in the military. However, there are exceptions for athletes and entertainment personalities who have won international competitions recognized by the authorities. The most striking cases concern Heung-min Son, who only had to serve 21 days thanks to the victory at the 2018 Asian Games, and above all the Bts, an internationally known band that was not recognized for the exemption and which for this reason had to cease operations.

THE JUN-HO SON CASE

One name stands out in Klinsmann’s squad list: Shandong Taishan midfielder Jun-ho Son. The player was arrested in China for corruption and despite the intervention of some emissaries from the Korea Football Association, it was not possible to release him. “Of course we are all shocked by Jun-ho’s plight and he has our full support. We take care of him, he gets our support. We don’t know his mental state, we don’t know what his physical condition is, but I think he deserves all the support we can give him,” Klinsmann said in a press conference with journalists from the Asian country. According to some Chinese press outlets, the Korean player was arrested “on suspicion of accepting bribes from non-state employees”.

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