In the history of the Korean national soccer team, there were a total of three so-called ‘forfeit matches’ in which the game was not played normally. There was one forfeit win, one forfeit loss, and one forfeit draw. Among these, the ‘forfeit draw’ occurred for a reason that is difficult to find anywhere in the world. The match was stopped because of protests outside the stadium.
It was also an incident directly related to the turbulent modern history of Korea, the June 1987 Uprising. The movie <1987>, which was released in 2017, showed the image of the times well. At the time, the people held fierce protests demanding democratization, such as constitutional amendment for direct presidential elections, and the 5th Republic government of President Chun Doo-hwan suppressed them with force.
In June 1987, when the country was infested with nationwide protests, the Presidential Cup Soccer Tournament was held in Korea. It has long since disappeared, but at the time it was the largest international soccer tournament held in Korea. Foreign national soccer teams, professional teams, and regional selection teams were invited to play.
Tear gas riot at a historic football game on June 10, 1987
June 10, 1987 was the largest and most violent day of protests across the country. The day before, Yonsei University student Lee Han-yeol was hit by a tear gas canister fired by the police and was on the verge of death. However, on the very day of the ‘6.10 Democratic Uprising’, the group stage match of the Presidential Cup Soccer Tournament between Korea and Egypt was held at Masan Public Stadium.
At that time, Egypt sent a national team to this competition, and this match between our national team and Egypt attracted great attention as a match between the champions. Our national team coach was Park Jong-hwan, who led the 1983 Mexico World Youth Championship semifinals, and Choi Soon-ho, Kim Joo-seong, Jung Yong-hwan, Cho Byung-deuk, Jung Hae-won, and Park Kyung-hun were active.
Kicking off at 6:20 p.m., the match was broadcast live on terrestrial TV. However, in the 29th minute of the first half, when they faced a tight 0-0 score, a sadal occurred. The Egyptian players on the ground suddenly started to collapse one by one. He fell to the floor, screaming and screaming in pain.
As it turned out, police forces fired tear gas at the demonstrators in the ‘June Uprising’ near the Masan Public Stadium, and the tear gas gas was blown into the stadium.
Those of you who have been through this era will know the pain when you are hit by tear gas. It’s so acrid that it’s hard to open your eyes, and if the gas gets into your eyes, they’re too stingy and covered with tears and runny nose. You should never rub your eyes with your hands at this time, you should wash them with water.
A match official then entered the field and restrained the Egyptian players from touching their faces. Athletes sneezed continuously. At the time, protests were commonplace in Korea, so our players were somewhat familiar with tear gas, but Egyptian players were not. It was the first time in my life that I was in so much agony from the tear gas. In the end, the referee judged that it was difficult to proceed with the game any longer and stopped it.
The aftermath of the unprecedented situation… Viewers protest, crowd riot
As mentioned earlier, the match was broadcast live on terrestrial broadcasters at the time. However, even though the Egyptian players collapsed and the game was stopped, the relay broadcaster did not explain the situation. He only briefly commented, “The game is being suspended due to ground conditions.” Then, suddenly, the sound of the broadcast was cut off, and only the stadium was shown as a video from a distance, then the broadcast was stopped and replaced with another program. When the broadcast was stopped without any explanation, the broadcasting station was bombarded with complaints from viewers.
At that time, there was no internet, so I protested by phone to the broadcasting station. The broadcaster belatedly explained in subtitles during the broadcast of another program, “Student protests outside the stadium became intense, and the police fired tear gas into the stadium, so the game was stopped and the broadcast was stopped.” At the time, the broadcasting company said, “The explanation to the viewers was delayed because we were unable to connect to the broadcasting site, so we were trying to figure out the exact cause.”
However, even though the broadcasting company did not explain in detail, many viewers watching the relay broadcast at the time had a certain intuition that it was caused by tear gas after watching the video. It’s because protests and tear gas have become commonplace and I’ve experienced them.
A crowd protested at the stadium. At the time, 23,000 spectators entered the Masan Public Stadium, but when the game was suspended, about 3,000 spectators rushed to the headquarters and demanded a refund of the ticket price안전놀이터, destroying chairs, tables, and other furniture in the headquarters. They held a sit-in for about 30 minutes, and eventually about 500 police troops mobilized and dispersed them.
After twists and turns, the match was treated as a ‘forfeit draw’
At the time, the Korea Football Association’s immature response was also criticized by the media. Football Association executives at the scene hurriedly evacuated and disappeared as some spectators threw bottles and jumped onto the ground due to a stoppage in the game. In the meantime, the Egyptian national team went back to their quarters before a decision could be made on how to handle the match.
It was only after the crowd’s turmoil that lasted for about 30 minutes was subdued that the association officials announced that they would replay the match at 11:00 am the next day (June 11). However, this was announced unilaterally without discussion with officials from both teams in Korea and Egypt. In the end, when the Egyptian side, who found out about this belatedly, protested strongly, saying, “We can’t play a rematch that is not according to FIFA rules,” overturned the decision four hours later, around midnight on the night of June 10, and treated it as a 0-0 draw. I made a skit with . This is the only ‘forfeit draw’ in Korean football history.
Egypt, strongly opposed to the rematch decision, “I’d rather give up”
The tournament organizers urged the Egyptian side to replay the match the next day until late at night on June 10, the day of the match. However, the coach of the Egyptian national team at the time strongly protested, saying, “It is impossible to ask for a rematch on the 11th and a third game in Busan on the 12th when the players are in a bad condition, vomiting and being hospitalized.”
“Because the organizers of the tournament failed to properly restrain the riots of the spectators, the players are bound to feel uneasy about the rematch in Masan. Have us give up or lose, do whatever you want. I want to go back to Egypt as soon as possible.”