The controversy over the color of Chungnam Asan FC’s home opener shows no sign of abating. Chungnam Asan players wore red jerseys instead of blue, the club’s signature color, in a move that has been criticized as politically motivated.

Chungnam Asan players wore red jerseys for their 2024 K League 2 home opener against Bucheon FC at the Asan Yi Sunshin Stadium on Sept. 9. Blue is the club’s first color. Red is unusual in that it is not only the second, but also the third color of the team, and it is the representative color of their opponent Bucheon FC.

Supporters and fans of Armada accused the team of aligning their jerseys with the red color of Chungnam Governor Kim Tae-heum and Asan Mayor Park Kyung-gui’s political party, the People’s Power, which was in attendance at the game. Kim and Park, who are the honorary chairman and president of the club, respectively, appeared in red jerseys and greeted the crowd. Banners with phrases such as “Soccer is not a political tool,” “Asan’s soccer is dead,” and “If you are not confident in politics, get rid of it” were visible throughout the stands.

Chungnam Asan fans believe the club has been swayed by local politicians ahead of next month’s general election. Lee Myung-soo, a member of parliament from the Asangap district of Chungcheongnam province who belongs to the People’s Power Party, visited the stadium. A local civic organization, Asan Citizens’ Solidarity, has accused the club of violating its duty of electoral neutrality, specifically pointing to Asan Mayor Park Kyung-gui. Mayor Park is currently facing a retrial after being invalidated in the first and second trials for violating the election law by publishing false facts.

Chungnam Province Governor Kim Tae-hum on Wednesday clarified the controversy over the color of the uniforms. Kim held a press conference at the Chungnam Provincial Office on the same day and said, “I went to the stadium because they asked me to give a congratulatory speech. I didn’t even know if the uniforms were red, blue, or yellow,” he said, adding, “I can’t celebrate in plain clothes, so I wore what the stadium gave me that day.”

Earlier, the club explained that “Asan is the resting place of General Yi Sun-sin,” and that the team wore red jerseys, which is the symbolic color of General Yi’s clothing. However, Chungnam Asan fans believe that this is a lame explanation, as it was done under the watchful eye of the local governor, who has full control over the club’s support and operations. Chungnam Asan wore blue jerseys for their home opener last season.

It is also pointed out that the limitations of civic clubs, which can only be swayed by the wishes of one or two local governors, have been highlighted again. At the beginning of the press conference, Governor Kim said, “The club had financial difficulties, so we started providing financial support from the seventh civil election. Even though the city council said that it was not appropriate because there were equity issues with other municipalities, we actively supported the club because we wanted the club to become a club that goes with the people and inspires pride, and to move up to the first league.” It can also be seen that the club was worried that the support would decrease, so they took care of the local governor.


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