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Napoli-Mallorca exhibitions in S. Korea scrapped

21:22 May 25, 2023

SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- Proposed summer exhibition matches between two European football clubs featuring South Korean stars have been scrapped, the national football governing body here said Thursday.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) said it has rejected plans by local promoters Untouchable Sports Group and Stadium X to host the Italian champions Napoli and Spanish club RCD Mallorca, citing the companies' failure to meet financial requirements.

Napoli are led by South Korean defender Kim Min-jae, and Mallorca employ skilled Korean midfielder Lee Kang-in.

In this EPA photo, Kim Min-jae of Napoli celebrates with fans after a 1-0 win over ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples, Italy, on May 7, 2023. (Yonhap)

The two companies had sought to hold two matches here: at Seoul World Cup Stadium on June 8 and at Goyang Stadium in Goyang, just northwest of the capital city on June 10.

However, the Korea Professional Football League (K League), which governs professional competition here, nixed the second match last Friday, because of three matches in the top-flight K League 1 scheduled on the same day.

The KFA, which had the final say on the matter, then asked the promoters if they were still willing to hold just one match or not have any Napoli-Mallorca match at all.

As proof of the companies' financial capabilities to host the matches, the KFA asked the promoters to choose one of the following options: pay an upfront deposit worth billions of won, or pay 800 million won (US$602,830) and agree to a contract stipulating financial compensation in the case of no-shows by some star players.

An official with the KFA said the two companies fell short of those requirements.

In this EPA photo, Lee Kang-in of RCD Mallorca (L) battles Ander Herrera of Athletic Club for the ball during the clubs' La Liga match at Estadi Mallorca Son Moix in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on May 1, 2023. (Yonhap)

"We first set the deadline at 11 a.m. Thursday and even extended it to later in the afternoon. But they ultimately didn't meet our requirements," the official said. "We had to consider possibilities of conflict between the clubs and the promoters. We attached those conditions because there are so many variables in these matches."

Fans of European football in South Korea, though, will still have much to look forward to in the coming weeks. The three-time reigning Premier League champions Manchester City will be here in July to face the Spanish outfit Atletico Madrid.

Another Premier League club, Wolverhampton Wanderers, will take on the Scottish champions Celtic in July.

AS Roma will also visit South Korea to play Wolves and Incheon United of the K League 1.

In this file photo from March 28, 2023, Lee Kang-in (L) and Kim Min-jae (R) of South Korea sandwich Matias Vecino of Uruguay during the teams' friendly football match at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)



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