Chengdu, May 30 : South Korea's U-18 team have apologised to China after a photograph emerged of one of their players with his foot on the 2019 Panda Cup trophy.
South Korea defeated hosts China 3-0 here on Wednesday to win the invitational youth tournament, but faced a serious backlash on social media after the photo went viral. Panda Cup organizers accused South Korea of serious disrespect and stripped the team of its trophy.
Later on Wednesday, the South Korea Football Association sent a letter of apology to the Panda Cup organizing committee, and players and staff from the South Korean team made a public apology at a news conference.
"We apologise for the situation. One of our players made a huge mistake. We are really sorry for the mistake again and we humbly apologize to all the fans, all the players and also all the people in China," said head coach Kim Jung-soo.
Despite the apology, Panda Cup organizers appeared unimpressed, noting that South Korea would not be invited back to participate in the annual tournament.
"Having taken place for six years running, the Panda Cup is highly respected by many international institutions and supported by football fans all over the world. Any player or team who behaves contrary to sporting ethics and spirit will not be welcomed," said a spokesperson from the organizing committee. (UNI-XINHUA)