Soccer: Korean player finally gets Olympic medal

South Korean soccer player Park Jong-Woo will finally receive his Olympic bronze medal, along with a stern warning for an overt political gesture he made at the London Games, Korean officials say.

The decision to award Park his medal was taken after the footballer appeared before an International Olympic Committee (IOC) disciplinary hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday.

"The IOC disciplinary commission warned him over his action in London, but he will receive the medal," a spokesman for the Korean Olympic Committee told AFP.

The 23-year-old midfielder was excluded from the awards ceremony in London after he held up a sign reading "Dokdo is our land" while celebrating the Korean team's 2-0 bronze medal victory over Japan.

The sign referred to a small, isolated group of islands that are the focus of a decades-old territorial dispute between South Korean and Japan.

The Seoul-controlled islands are known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese.

"There will be no publicity or ceremony in awarding the medal," the KOC spokesman said, adding his committee had been told to educate South Korean athletes on the Olympic charter and prevent any similar incident occurring in the future.

Park had insisted he took the sign from a fan in the crowd and the gesture was not pre-planned, but IOC officials ruled he was in breach of rules banning political demonstrations at the Games.

Last December FIFA's disciplinary committee slapped a fine of 3500 Swiss francs (A$3700) on Park and suspended him for two international matches.

- AFP

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