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Italian Newspaper’s False Report Refuted

Pyongyang, April 29 (KCNA) — “Cheyuk Sinmun” (sports newspaper) Friday carried the following commentary titled “Facts should not be falsified”:

Media should not falsify facts.

There are publications which have become a laughing stock of the public for having made unreasonable comments on the basis of what their reporters heard from others or some scenes shown by television without witnessing what actually happened.

The Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera is one of them.

Its recent issue carried a report misrepresenting what spectators protested against the unfair refereeing at the end of the match held between the DPRK team and the Iranian team for Asian qualifier B of the 18th World Cup on March 30. This seriously hurt Koreans’ feelings.

A reporter of the newspaper wrote a story on the basis of his narrow-minded view without watching for himself the match held in Pyongyang.

It was peppered with a lot of nonsensical assertions that “it was a product of popular commotion” and the match ended in the free-for-all on the field.

This was a practice of mixing sports with politics. Then why is this newspaper free to use such nonsensical words as “commotion” or “disorder” without any ground?

Every spectator is obliged to discern or watch if any match is underway according to the rules.

This being a hard fact, how can the reasonable protest made by spectators against the unfair refereeing at the end of the match be interpreted as a “commotion” or “disorder”?

Truth to tell, Korean spectators remained tolerant when they watched the chief referee of Thailand going without giving an 11m penalty kick twice during the match between the DPRK eleven and the Bahraini team.

An 11m penalty kick was not declared against the Iranian team when it committed two foul plays during the match held in the same stadium five days later. This could not but lash the spectators into fury at the end of the match.

Had there been any “popular commotion” in the stadium as claimed by the newspaper, the match would not have taken place properly due to the rash acts of the supporters. In fact, there was nothing that hamstrung the match.

The newspaper claimed there was a fight between Korean supporters and the referee. When did it take place and when did they throw stones on the field?

This was a sheer fabrication.

Not a single supporter went down to the field, much less touching even a hair of the referee during the match. It is preposterous, indeed, to depict the 90 minute-match as a “fight” and a “commotion”.

The referees could not leave the stadium soon after the match was over entirely not because somebody stood in their way. This happened because extremely unfair refereeing made them feel guilty conscience.

The newspaper went the lengths of claiming that the crowd that assembled outside the stadium was intended to assault referees or players of the rival team. After the match was over, supporters wished to encourage the Korean team which suffered a regrettable defeat due to the partial attitude of the chief referee, much less an move to hurt somebody.

Spectators witnessed such unfair refereeing as refusing to give an 11m penalty kick four times at the international soccer match held in the same stadium at a five day-interval. Much displeased with this, some spectators protested against this unfair refereeing from their seats and some excited ones threw a few empty cider bottles and chairs just before them. Was this “commotion” or “disorder”?

Explicitly speaking, Korean spectators did nothing to obstruct the match nor did they do anything to threaten the safety of players of the rival team or the chief referee.
The newspaper said something about the unfair refereeing of the match.

The recent protest was staged entirely because the chief referees of Thailand and Syria partially refereed the matches quite contrary to the rules of the matches.

This admits of no further argument as this was witnessed by the supervisors dispatched by FIFA.

The long world history of football records great many soccer matches but knows no such precedent of refusing to give crucial 11m penalty kick for serious foul plays in two matches as what happened in Pyongyang.

This unfair refereeing had an irrevocable adverse impact on the development of the world sports and cast a shadow on its prospect.

It is quite natural for the world opinion to be unanimous in expressing indignation at the malpractices during the recent soccer matches.

If such extremely partial refereeing as wicked Syrian and Thai chief referees’ is allowed as what happened in Pyongyang, such practice will be rife in other places in future to mar the popularity of world soccer.

In this regard, we sent video tapes on which the matches are recorded to FIFA and issued a statement in protest against the unreasonable behavior of the referees on behalf of the DPRK Football Association in accordance with Paragraph 12 “Violation of the Rules and Unfair Practice” of the rules of matches.

Even the newspaper and broadcasting reporters and TV announcers of various countries who covered the matches complained that “the chief referee should have impartially refereed the matches.” And even officials of the Iranian football team said:
“We know the crowd was angered by the referee’s malpractice and it is quite natural for the people strong in national self-esteem to do so”.

One may say that this represents the unanimous view of those who watched the matches.

We can not but take a serious note of the fact that the above-said newspaper far-fetchedly linked the recent happening with the political issue.

An international referee represents FIFA, not his own country.

We, therefore, only lodged a protest with FIFA against the referees’ practices that tarnished its image.

This issue is related to the qualifications and conscience of the chief referees mandated by FIFA, not an issue concerning the relations between countries.

This newspaper, however, was so impudent as to paint this issue as a crack in the relationship between countries. This cannot be construed otherwise than a sinister intention and a “black-hearted design” to drive a wedge in the relations between the DPRK and other countries.

Worse still, this newspaper handles what Koreans did the same way as it does demonstrations and protests staged in other countries under the absolutely different political systems. This is nothing but a ridiculous and naive attempt of the political dwarfs.

The newspaper should know that the so-called “commotion” and “disorder” did not happen in the DPRK as it is a society where the people are single-mindedly united.

Our people do not allow anyone to falsify truth and facts or hurt their self-esteem.

It is the hope of the Korean people and the world soccer fans that the prestigious FIFA will prevent referees’ unfair refereeing of international matches and ensure impartiality in those games.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rnw/3486139546/

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