LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A South Korea soccer player who displayed a political banner at the London Olympics will receive his bronze medal, an official familiar with the decision said Tuesday.
The official said the IOC executive board will issue a warning to Park Jong-woo for his actions after his team's 2-0 victory over Japan. The South Korean Olympic committee will be warned and required to educate its athletes about competition rules.
The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the ruling had not been announced. The IOC withheld Park's medal after the Aug. 10 match pending a disciplinary hearing, which was held Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Park displayed a sign in national colors after the bronze-medal game in Cardiff, Wales. The slogan said "Dokdo is our territory" to support South Korean sovereignty over islets also claimed by Japan. International Olympic Committee and FIFA rules prohibit on-field political statements. The South Korean team argued that Park had not planned a protest and merely picked up a banner thrown on the field by a fan.
FIFA previously banned Park for two World Cup matches in its own investigation of the case. He will serve his suspension when South Korea hosts Qatar on March 26 and plays at Lebanon on June 4. The 23-year-old midfielder was called onto the senior national team weeks after the Olympics, and played in a World Cup qualifier against Iran in October.
FIFA also warned the South Korean soccer association about future sanctions if the situation were repeated. South Korea and Japan played the bronze-medal match amid sensitive diplomatic relations at home. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak had traveled to the islets where his country stations a small contingent of police officers in a show of control. The presidential visit prompted Japan to recall its ambassador from Seoul.