KT takes down ads featuring football star mired in infighting controversy

South Korean mobile carrier KT Corp. has taken down promotional posters featuring Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Lee Kang-in, industry sources said Friday, in an apparent response to a recent national team infighting controversy involving the football player. According to the sources, KT has ordered its shops across the country to remove posters featuring the 22-year-old star. Those posters were produced for KT's Galaxy S24 Series promotions. A company official said KT decided to end the promotions Friday, a day earlier than initially scheduled. As for terminating an endorsement deal with Lee, the official said, "We're looking at that possibility from different angles, but nothing has been decided." Lee first signed a six-year deal with KT in 2019, after he won the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament at the FIFA U-20 World Cup as an 18-year-old. KT then signed him to a new deal on Jan. 16, a day after Lee netted two goals in South Korea's 3-1 win over Bahrain in the group stage of the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup in Qatar. Lee has been one of South Korea's most popular athletes in recent years, but things turned sour this week when it was belatedly revealed that Lee had been in a scuffle with national team captain Son Heung-min over a game of table tennis the night before South Korea's semifinal game against Jordan at the Asian Cup. Lee apologized for his role in the incident, while denying, through his legal representatives, that he had taken a swing at Son as has been widely reported. Angry football fans have threatened to boycott KT's products unless the company cuts ties with Lee. South Korea lost the semifinal match 2-0 on Feb. 6, and the Korea Football Association fired head coach Jurgen Klinsmann earlier Friday. Source: Yonhap News Agency

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