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Coach Hiddink may visit N. Korea in March

Posted January. 24, 2014 05:05,   


Guus Hiddink, a former coach of the Korean national soccer team who led Korea’s advancement into the semi-finals in the 2002 World Cup, is considering visiting North Korea in March.

Officials from the South Korean government said, “An aid to Hiddink has recently consulted with the government on matters regarding his visit to North Korea.” The coach has informed the government of his plan to visit North Korea for the purpose of sports exchanges, including projects to build a futsal stadium and hold futsal matches in North Korea. The coach has established futsal stadiums in South Korea through the Dream Field Project of his foundation. Futsal is a mini soccer game played indoor between two teams of five players.

A government official said, “Hiddink originally planned to visit the North in February, but he informed us the visit would be put off due to the international controversies triggered by Dennis Rodman, a former NBA player who recently visited North Korea for a basketball match.” Rodman sang the happy birthday song and bowed to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his stay in the communist regime. Since the visit, he has received severe criticisms from the public for having played a puppet for North Korea’s propaganda. Given these circumstances, the Dutch coach is taking a prudent approach to his visit to North Korea, saying that he “will plan the visit while watching the situation.” The coach is said to be considering delaying the visit to March now. The South Korean government made it clear that Hiddink does not need to have permission from South Korea to visit North Korea because he is Dutch and there is no reason to stop his visit if it is for the purpose of sports exchanges.

Since the establishment of the Guus Hiddink Foundation, he has built futsal stadiums for the visually impaired in 11 South Korean cities, such as Pohang, Suwon and Jeju, through the Dream Field Project.