A Japanese league-based defender has been added to the South Korean national team for the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games, the country's top sports body announced Thursday.
At a press conference held at the National Training Center in the central county of Jincheon on Thursday, Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) President Lee Kee-heung said Vegalta Sendai defender Kim Tae-hyeon will replace Lee Sang-min on the 22-man roster for South Korea.
Coached by Hwang Sun-hong, South Korea will try to win their third straight Asian Games gold medal in China.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) initially named Lee to the Asian Games squad on July 14, but cut him from the squad four days later after belatedly learning of his eligibility issues.
Lee was arrested after driving under the influence of alcohol in May 2020 while playing for Chungnam Asan in the second-tier K League 2. Three months later, on Aug. 5, he was ordered to pay a fine of 5 million won (US$3,780). Under the KFA's rules, players who have been fined at least 5 million won for drunk driving or other related offense cannot be selected to any national team for at least three years.
The KFA's decision to cut Lee came three days after the deadline to submit the final Asian Games roster. Teams could only make changes on medical grounds.
However, Lee said the KSOC got the green light from the organizing committee on Monday to make the late change, allowing South Korea to carry a full 22-man squad.
Kim, 22, has appeared in eight matches for the national under-23 team, most recently for two friendly matches against China in June. He will join the Asian Games training camp on Sept. 4 in the southeastern city of Changwon.
The Asian Games men's football tournament is typically open only to players under 23, with an exception of three overage players per team. For Hangzhou, the age limit was lifted to 24, because the competition was pushed back by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Korea will face Kuwait on Sept. 19, Thailand on Sept. 21 and Bahrain on Sept. 24 in Group E. All three matches will be at Jinhua Sports Centre Stadium in Jinhua, south of the main host city of Hangzhou.
Source: Yonhap News Agency