The Korea Football Association issued an official position on the 'personal trainer controversy' that erupted immediately after advancing to the round of 16 in the Qatar World Cup and revealed that there was a conflict between some players and the association.

The Korea Football Association released a statement of over 6,000 characters on its homepage today (10th) regarding the issue raised by Ahn Deok-soo, personal rehabilitation trainer for national team captain Son Heung-min.

The association, which summarized the facts surrounding the trainer, the players, and the medical team, pointed out that "there were some deficiencies" but "the players also have regrets."

In particular, some players demanded that Trainer Ahn join the medical team, and the medical team leader, who was suspected of having a conflict with him, pressured him to leave the team and return home.

The association argued, "The attitude of trying to carry out the demands without recognizing the legal process was unreasonable."

Previously, Trainer An said on social media on the 7th of last month, "There have been many things in (National Team Accommodation) Room 2701."

Ahn, who managed the physical condition of some players as a personal trainer for Son Heung-min, suddenly remained silent after the first exposure, raising various speculations about what the 'problem situation' mentioned was.

Currently, the post has been deleted from Ahn Trainer's social media.

The Football Association, which took a position about a month after the exposure, said, "It was judged that it was not appropriate to respond head-on to individual emotions poured out on social media without explaining a clear reason or content." It could have caused misunderstandings.”

According to the Football Association, between November 2021 and June of last year, some players asked to let Ahn Trainer join the association's mandatory staff on two occasions.

In response, the association told Trainer Ahn through the players to go through formal procedures, but there was no support from Trainer Ahn.

In addition, according to the relevant laws that came into effect in February 2021, only certain license holders could be hired, but Ahn Trainer confirmed that some of them did not exist, the association said.

In the end, when two colleagues and trainer Ahn came to Qatar as 'external trainers', the association allowed them to receive treatment if the player wanted.

While about 10 people were treated by them during the tournament, two days before the first match against Uruguay, several players suddenly demanded that the medical team leader of the association be excluded from work and return home.

It was because the medical team leader was a key figure who opposed Trainer Ahn's joining.

According to the association, these players said, "If you can't hire them because you don't have a license, why don't you register for a different position, such as in charge of equipment, and then do your duty?"

In response, the association explained, "No matter how much the players wanted, they could not hire unqualified people who did not apply for the recruitment announcement," and "the organization conducting public affairs could not condone or encourage illegal activities until they manipulated their positions."

At the same time, he explained that there was no procedural problem because the relevant laws requiring licenses were not enforced in 2020, when he signed a two-year contract with him in relation to the “unqualified” staff that the players took issue with.

Instead, it was said that they were informed of the policy that they could not renew the contract if they did not meet the qualifications.

When a serious internal atmosphere was created, with many employees protesting against the request to return the medical team leader, saying, "If you return him, we will return," the association instead ordered him to stop treatment activities.

The association said, “We saw that continuing work in a situation where a conflict had arisen would come as stress to both the parties and the players,” and said, “We notified this fact, and the players agreed and the problem was settled.”

In addition, it was reported that the players were confused because the trainer did not accept the diagnosis made by the association's medical team after a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination at an official designated hospital of the International Football Federation (FIFA).

The association pointed out, "We are well aware that Ahn Deok-soo, who was trusted by the players, did a good job."

He reflected, "If it was an issue that the players had requested for a long time, we should have listened to it and come up with an alternative solution to solve the problem."

"Recently, there is a trend of hiring personal trainers to manage their physical condition more thoroughly, so this trend is expected to grow even more," he said. "he added.

The association announced that it would revise the relevant regulations by early March and apply the policy confirmed at the end of March when the national team is newly convened.

(Photo = Yonhap News)