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KPFA Secretary Kim Hoon-Ki Interview Article

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작성자 한국프로축구선수협회 작성일20-07-01 15:13 조회1,859회 댓글0건



KPFA Secretary Kim Hoon-Ki Interview Article – Truth to misconception about KPFA’s ‘representation’ before player wage discussion…

Korea Pro-Footballer’s Association (KPFA), intending to discuss player wage cutback issues with the K-League, has been approved as an official branch by FIFPro on December 2017 and was founded as a labor union-like corporation. 

FIFPro is an international solidarity organization that promotes player rights and prevents unjust treatment of players from domestic football association. Recognized by FIFA as a football labor union, K-League players felt the need in 2012 and prepared the process of approval by holding an establishment assembly. Although the KPFA has previously dealt with issues regarding transfer of players, it became known in December 2018 after the general meeting where Lee Keun-Ho (Ulsan) has been appointed as president. Then Yeom Ki-Hun (Suwon), Park Joo-Ho (Ulsan), and Yun Suk-Young (Busan) joined the board of directors. However, compared to the KBO’s Korea Professional Baseball Players Association which has already established itself to a certain extent, the KPFA lacked communication with the Korea Football Association, Korea Professional Football League, and each K-League club. Initially, about 200 members (including previous players) joined the organization. But there were voices that pointed out that such a small number cannot represent the 800 registered K-League individuals. The greater problem was that the KPFA was reluctant to disclose the registered members to the public and this issue still continues today. Thus, some also pointed out that whether it is right for the KPFA to even discuss player wage cutback issues with the Korea Professional Football League. 

KPFA feels “disappointed” regarding such issues of establishing representation. Player A registered in the KPFA has commented, “Honestly speaking, the football culture in Korea is quite exclusive. 2 years ago, when the KPFA has been founded, I have heard about few club teams asking ‘players to raise their hands’ if they have joined the KPFA.” He also emphasized, “There are players who are worried about potential disadvantages by joining the (labor union-like) KPFA”. Although the structure is different compared to the KPFA which is protected by an international organization, few players who have led the beginning of the Korea Professional Baseball Players Association have faced issues with their club teams. Secretary Kim Hoon-Ki mentioned these cases and said, “In fact many active veteran players, including President Lee Keun-Ho, leading the KPFA encouraged many players to join the KPFA. Although I cannot disclose the list of names, there are about 700 members.” As of this year, there are 785 registered players in the K-League. In KPFA’s opinion, this means approximately 90% of the players have joined the KPFA.”  Secretary Kim added, “Based on the how many clubs are structured, it is difficult for players to raise their voices. There were instances of threats to discharge players if they did not comply. Such exclusive culture is the reason why we couldn’t disclose the names of the players. However, we have shown our efforts to deal with issues of players through the press and have been conducting meetings with the KFA and the K-League.” Regarding the wage cutback issue, Secretary Kim said, “There are players experiencing silent oppression and I have been contacted by a few clubs. I have requested to talk with the Korea Professional Football League so that the players can understand the current situation.”

Lee Jong-Kwon, the Public Relation General Manager of the K-League, said, “The KPFA is an organization that advocates the rights of the players. Even though 100% of the players may not be registered, it can be a representing body. Surely, when both organization comes up with an agreement, it can set the future standards without having to bind all the players. FIFPro also is not an automatic registration. I don’t think the negotiation with the KPFA holds the same nature as talks among labor unions. However, I do hope that there will be communications about information not known to the public such as the scale of the KFPA.” Therefore, this meeting is not only about player wage cutbacks, but also the value of the KPFA’s existence. Despite the controversy about representation, it is worthy of praise for the KFPA to begin talks with the K-League. There are opinions about the need to take a step from the closed environment and take a more active approach rather than a defensive stance. In order to coexist with each organization and advocate player rights, there much be a procedure to build trust. That is why this meeting is drawing more attention.


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