Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yong will not take part in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games as his club will refuse to release him for the tournament. Gyeongnam midfielder Yoon Bit-garam will take Ki’s place in Hong Myung-bo’s 20-man squad.
U-23 head coach Hong Myung-bo has been busy negotiating with clubs for the release of their players for the upcoming tournament and believed that Ki Sung-yong would be allowed to participate with the Asian Games squad as well. However, the latest reports reveal that the Scottish club finalized their decision of not releasing Ki. Injuries to several players as well as Ki’s resurgance in form are thought to be reasons why Celtic decided to change their decision. After a brief meeting, the Korean coaching staff decided to fill Ki’s spot on the team with Yoon Bit-garam.
Football clubs are required to release their players for matches scheduled on official FIFA match dates but the upcoming Asian Games, unlike the Asian Cup, is not a FIFA affiliated tournament. All club teams had the right to hold onto their players during the duration of the tournament.
Due to the 2010 Gulf Cup coinciding with the 2010 Asian Games this year, it is believed that many teams from the Gulf will participate in the Asian Games with weakened squads. With Hong’s team challenging for the gold medal, Ki’s absence will be a personal blow as he will miss out on his opportunity for military exemption.
The 20-man squad will come together on the 27th and will leave for Okinawa on the 29th for training.
See the rest of the Asian Games squad here.