Coach Park defiant over AFC penalty

The AFC announced on Monday to fine Park $5,000 and suspended him from four friendly matches after he received a red card in the 2019 SEA Games men’s football final on December 10.

“I will accept and abide by the AFC punishment. But I can confirm I did not insult the referees. My English is not good enough to do that anyway. After the game, I apologized to them myself,” Park wrote in a letter sent from South Korea.

In the football match between Vietnam and Indonesia, Park stepped onto the field and argued with referees about a foul against one of his players, Nguyen Trong Hoang, who was pushed down by Osvaldo Haay. Instead of giving Haay a yellow card, main referee Majed Al-Shamrani gave Indonesia a throw-in.

After Park’s loud response, Al-Shamrani decided to send the coach off for overreacting, which made him even angrier, who only returned to argue with assistant referees along the sideline. The game was subsequently delayed because of the incident.

AFC called his behavior “inappropriate.” The suspension will still allow Park to manage the team during official Asian World Cup 2022 qualifiers.

Park became the first national team coach to receive suspension from AFC.

“I got the red card after reacting to a wrong decision. At the time, the game was growing more intense and players could get injured, so I told the referees to be more reasonable in controlling play,” Park said.

Park comes back to argue with the assistant referees after being sent off. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.

Park comes back to argue with the assistant referees after being sent off at the SEA Games final between Vietnam and Indonesia, December 10, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.

Vietnam won the match 3-0 and clinched their very first gold medal in SEA Games men’s football.

“I apologize to the fans because they had to see my behavior on the field at that time,” Park said.

Park went on to affirm that during his suspension time, the national team will still be well-prepared for the matches of World Cup 2022 qualifiers.

At the moment, Park is staying in South Korea, since all of the sport events in Vietnam were postponed due to the new coronavirus outbreak. On February 15, he will begin the preparation for the World Cup 2022 qualification clash with Malaysia on March 31.

The upcoming exhibition match with Iraq on March 26 may be the first game that Park has to sit out, although the game can be cancelled due to the current epidemic situation.

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