Repeated Drunk Driving by Non-K League Players…Avoiding Clubs, Safety Measures Needed

Drunk driving again.

In just 13 months, three K League players have been disciplined for drunk driving. In early July last year, Japanese midfielder Takahiro Kunimoto, then playing for Jeonbuk Hyundai, was caught driving drunk. A day later, the Korean Professional Football Association (KPA) handed him a 60-day suspension from the K League. Kunimoto’s former team, Jeonbuk, terminated his contract four days after the DUI incident.

Next up was Jonatan Moya. A key striker for FC Anyang and the league’s leading scorer in K-League 2 at the start of the season, Jonatan came under fire in April when he was found to have been drinking and driving. As with Kunimoto, the league suspended Jonatan from official K League games for 60 days, and Anyang released him after terminating his contract early.

About four months after Jonatan’s departure from South Korea, news broke that another foreign striker, this time Suwon FC’s Lars Veltvik, had been caught driving an Uber. Unlike the cases of Kunimoto and Jonatan, the federation suspended Lars for 15 games and fined him 4 million won. Lars will miss the rest of the season due to the suspension.

Unpredictable variables, and the impact on K League clubs

The damage caused by foreigners’ drunk driving has been and will be borne by the clubs themselves. The damage doesn’t stop with the clubs, who can barely manage the departure of individual players, posting apologies on social media after a drunk driving incident, citing lack of management. Jeonbuk and Anyang, who lost Kunimoto and Jonatan during the previous season, have also suffered major blows to their rosters.

Kunimoto had been an integral part of the team since joining Jeonbuk in 2020, and had been performing at a high level even before his controversial DUI. After losing Kunimoto during the season, Jeonbuk ended up finishing second, losing the title to Ulsan Hyundai.

Jonatan was a tough player to replace for Anyang. Jonatan’s presence was one of the reasons for Anyang’s early season surge. Since Jonatan’s departure, Anyang has struggled to stay in contention for the top half of the table, thanks in part to the play of Park Jae-yong, Andrigo, and others. With the departure of Park Jae-yong and Andrigo in the summer transfer window, Anyang can’t help but think of Jonatan.

Suwon FC will also have a big hole to fill. With nine goals and five assists this season, Lars is Suwon’s top scorer and the second most prolific offensive player in K League 1 behind Na Sang-ho (FC Seoul). Beyond his stats, Rath is a big part of Suwon’s tactics. After unexpectedly losing their star striker, Suwon FC will have to pick up the pieces and fight relegation for the rest of the season. Ras is also expected to be released from his contract, as previous cases have shown. 꽁머니지급

Drunk driving a bigger problem, ‘abuse’ a concern

One of the things that comes up whenever the issue of foreigners drinking and driving in the K League comes up is that foreigners are trying to take advantage of it. Korean sentiment toward K League clubs

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