Lee Kang-in’s ‘military service benefits’ opportunity… EPL teams ‘difficult’

Whenever the Asian Games and Olympics are held, the word ‘military service benefits’ appears. According to Article 68 of the Enforcement Decree of the Military Service Act, athletes who place third or higher in the Olympics and first or higher in the Asian Games can perform alternative service as ‘athletic personnel’.

The 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games메이저사이트, which will be held in Hangzhou, China in September, is a great motivation for players who have not completed their military service to ‘get a gold medal’.

Lee Kang-in (22, Mallorca), who is evaluated as a key player in Hwang Seon-Hong Ho, is one of them. Lee Kang-in, who has been playing in Spain since his youth, can continue his career in Europe like Son Heung-min if he clears his military service.

Lee Kang-in participated in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but did not receive military service benefits as South Korea finished the tournament in the quarterfinals. The Hangzhou Asian Games are a second chance.

It is certain that he will lead the Korean national team in the Asian Games as he is currently sweeping the Spanish Primera Liga with 6 goals and 5 assists for his team Mallorca.

Lee Kang-in has played 35 games this season and is making a big success with 6 goals and 5 assists.

Lee Kang-in, who has established himself as a major player in Mallorca.

However, director Hwang Seon-hong cannot but prepare for ‘When Lee Kang-in is not around’. This is because he cannot be ‘convinced’ of Lee Kang-in’s selection.

Since the Asian Games are not organized by the International Football Federation (FIFA), their teams are not obliged to respond to the selection of the national team.

Son Heung-min received military service benefits through the Olympics at the 2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games, which was also possible because Tottenham allowed him to borrow. Son Heung-min had a willingness to participate, and as Tottenham, there was a relationship of interest that if Son Heung-min received military service benefits, he could continue his career in England without returning to Korea.

European players worthy of joining the Asian Games include Lee Kang-in, Oh Hyun-kyu (Celtic), Hong Hyun-seok (Ghent), and Jung Woo-young (Freiburg).

▲ Lee Kang-in dribbles against Colombia in March.

However, unlike other players, Lee Kang-in’s situation is rather complicated.

Lee Kang-in is currently playing in Mallorca, and the official letter of cooperation from the Football Association is likely to go to a team other than Mallorca. According to local Spanish and British media, Spanish Primera Liga Atletico Madrid and other English Premier League clubs are aiming to sign Lee Kang-in in the summer transfer market. His team, Mallorca, is also looking for a replacement player, and the transfer is certain.

Hangzhou Asian Games men’s football starts on September 19, before the opening of the tournament, and the finals will be held on October 7, the day before the closing. The Spanish Primera Liga and English Premier League kick off on August 13 (Korean time). From the standpoint of the new team that is expected to recruit Lee Kang-in, they should be prepared to leave for about a month if they allow Korea to win the championship. There is room to adjust the timing of joining the Korea Football Association after the tournament rather than the group stage, but it is still not an easy decision for a team that considers Lee Kang-in as a key force for the next season.

▲ Son Heung-min, who belonged to Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) in 2014. 2014 Incheon Asian Games asked for selection, but Bayer Leverkusen did not accept it.

A representative case of refusal to borrow is Son Heung-min. At the time, coach Lee Kwang-jong and the Korea Football Association requested Son Heung-min to be selected ahead of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, but Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) refused. The Korea Football Association wanted to run at least a tournament, but Leverkusen did not accept this either. At the time, Son Heung-min was also 22 years old, the same as Lee Kang-in.

As a result, there is a prospect that Lee Kang-in will ask for participation in the Asian Games when negotiating a transfer with a new team. In this case, it is not an easy decision for the player himself to make the decision to focus on participating in the Asian Games, leaving behind the adaptation to the new team.

▲ Hwang Seon-hong, coach of the Asian Games team, interviewed at the Paju National Team Training Center on the 15th. ⓒKorea Football Association

When asked about a plan to cooperate with Lee Kang-in and other European players, head coach Hwang Seon-hong said, “I will go and meet with the club officials and discuss them. It’s not easy, but I will do my best.”

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