The ‘2701’ incident was a predicted conflict… Why Chairman Chung Mong-gyu should answer directly
The Taegeuk Warriors, who achieved a splendid feat in the round of 16 in 12 years, are now looking for their daily lives one after another, leaving their joy behind. It’s time to calm down and reflect calmly. First, I would like to look back on what happened in ‘2701’.
The essence of the problem is whether the management of our national team players was properly done during the World Cup. Let me point out.
In modern football, as physical therapy and training are closely linked, the role and importance of rehabilitation trainers such as AT (Athletic Trainer) and PT (Physiotherapist) is growing. No matter how good a coach is, it is of no use if the player’s body does not follow. The trainer sets up a training plan tailored to the athlete according to the doctor’s diagnosis and takes charge of running together. Also, after training and matches, each player’s muscles are directly managed with both hands. The place where the lights are not turned off 24 hours a day during the competition is their treatment room. As one trainer is in charge of five or six players for about two hours each day, it is a job that is physically exhausting and mentally stressful.
Why does the conflict persist?
Since it is directly related to health, it is inevitable to be sensitive. In addition, the domains of primary care physicians, rehabilitation trainers, and physical trainers have their own specialties but are closely related to each other, so there are frequent conflicts of opinion depending on the point of view. In addition, since each player has different injury histories and physical characteristics, ‘rapport formation’ is essential. This is the background that Europe’s leading prestigious teams unite experts in medicine and physical therapy, as well as physiology, nutrition, exercise mechanics, pharmacology, psychology, and data analysis, into a sports science team to demonstrate ‘teamwork’. The effect is maximized only when synergy is created.
However, in our society, which pursues only ‘cost-performance ratio’ by putting ‘intuition’ rather than ‘science’, ‘academic background’ rather than ‘organizational power’, and ‘personality’ rather than ‘system’, there are fields that depend on ‘line’ such as academic ties, regional ties, and blood ties. Awareness has arisen. It has become difficult to trust each other, and conflict has become inevitable. 안전놀이터
A growing European… Associations that do not meet eye level
Even between the national team and the national team, which have to share one player, there are often cases of ‘distrust’ of each other. In 2009, ahead of the World Cup in South Africa, Manchester United, the team that was reluctant to select ‘captain’ Park Ji-seong for the national team, dispatched a physical trainer directly to the national team’s training ground to help with knee care. In the case of Son Heung-min, who was seriously injured by breaking the bones around his eyes and four places just before this tournament, the association and Tottenham took the form of close consultations, but it is known that there was not a little friction due to information imbalance. While Tottenham approached carefully, not disclosing the injury information of Son Heung-min, a major asset, as much as possible, the Football Association had to interpret the same information somewhat optimistically and strengthen the possibility of participation.
It’s not just the position that’s different. While ‘big clubs’, which execute budgets of hundreds of billions of won, up to trillions of won annually, invest generously in the field of sports science, related investments are also stagnant in the Football Association, which has stayed for several years with a budget of about 100 billion won. The introduction of the electronic performance tracking system (EPTS), which Hwang Hee-chan made headlines while holding a top-dressing ceremony, is also a case in which voices from the field were belatedly reflected due to budget issues. In this way, the gap between major European clubs and soccer teams in the field of sports science is widening.
constant noise… foreseeable event
The noise didn’t stop. Just before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the attending physician’s belated response to yellow fever injections was on the cutting board, and during the 2019 Asian Cup, problems with the selection method of the attending physician and the treatment of duty trainers emerged one after another. All of them are directly related to the success of the competition. In Brazil, they had 1 draw and 2 losses, their worst performance since the 2002 World Cup, and were eliminated from the Asian Cup in the quarterfinals, ending the flow of reaching the semifinals three times in a row since 2007.
The Association has also taken this issue seriously. That’s why the ‘Soccer Science Team’ was launched. After organizing a related team under the Power Reinforcement Office, we promoted job expertise, fairness in selection, and improvement in treatment. However, the soccer science team, which was launched ambitiously, did not last long and quietly disappeared.
Chairman Chung Mong-gyu should answer directly
What happened in ‘2701’ this time is a ‘comprehensive set’ of the various side effects described above. Due to the tight schedule due to the unprecedented winter World Cup, overseas teams and domestic teams gathered in Doha, Qatar, with big and small injuries. Some players did not trust the medical team leader, who had been disputed about fairness from the time of recruitment. The team leader is a ‘veteran’ with more than 20 years of experience and is regarded as the best expert in Korea, but the collapsed trust was not easily restored. After risking my life as an athlete, I tried to entrust my body to someone I could trust in the competition, and the space that was created was ‘Room 2701’. Athletes contributed hundreds of millions of dollars in incidental expenses.
And the association’s medical team, including the attending physician, and ‘No. 2701’ did not acknowledge each other’s existence and cut them down. The association was unable to mediate this conflict and stood by, hiding behind the ‘principle’. Contrary to precedent, it was possible to achieve the results of the round of 16 in this tournament because the official treatment room and the informal treatment room did their best despite conflicts. At least when it comes to athlete treatment, everyone was of one mind.
The greatest responsibility for recurring problems lies with Chairman Chung Mong-gyu. After carrying out an organizational reshuffle led by Chairman Chung last year, the Korea Football Association took a step backwards in its administrative power in all areas. It is a so-called ‘Agile’ organization. The soccer science team also disappeared from the organization chart around this time.
It would be embarrassing to enumerate the administrative chaos that followed. The FA Cup (Busan Transportation Corporation: FC Seoul), the most historic tournament hosted by the Football Association, was played in a worse environment than neighborhood football without security personnel deployed, and a national player who participated in the Asian Cup under the age of 23 of the Asian Football Federation. As the association failed to properly arrange a return flight, the team’s joining schedule was disrupted. Afterwards, Team A, which went to the East Asian Cup, lost face with a’visa late application’, and the association’s high-ranking officials criticized Bento’s coach Yong In-sul on his personal YouTube channel, causing controversy. In the midst of this, the Asian Cup bid, which was expected to be a complete defeat from the start, showed the extreme of push-type administration. An elite organization that prided itself on having the best administrative power among domestic sports organizations is now facing criticism as ‘the worst administrative power ever’.
Cho Kyu-sung, who has emerged as the best rising star at the World Cup in Qatar, was speechless when asked about ‘No. 2701’. A few seconds of this awkward silence swallowed up all the other nice remarks. As sports science develops, the athlete management system will become more specialized and detailed, and the level of demand from players will increase. Chairman Chung Mong-kyu is responsible for improving structural problems, integrating conflicts, and presenting future-oriented solutions.