Suwon Bluewings have denied the apparent late registration of North Korean 2010 World Cup star Tese Chong as a South Korean player for the AFC Champions League is anything more than a misunderstanding.
Suwon Bluewings officials have denied the apparent late registration of North Korean 2010 World Cup star Tese Chong as a South Korean player for the AFC Champions League is anything more than a misunderstanding.
The K-League side held out a dominant Central Coast Mariners to get a point from their scoreless Group H draw on Wednesday in Gosford.
Rumours swirled prior to the match that Chong had been registered for the AFC Champions League as a South Korean player by virtue of his dual passport despite having represented North Korea for seven years at international level.
This would mean the Suwon outfit could add an extra overseas player under the '3 + 1' foreign player allowance, with Australian Eddy Bosnar the designated Asian player while the sides other imports could fill up the remaining three spots.
Mariners officials were said to be livid upon learning the news, which adds to the fact the club could not sign a designated Asian player of their own in the last few weeks prior to squad submissions for the competition.
Speaking through an interpreter, Bluewings coach Jung-Won Seo said there was nothing sinister about the player's registration
Chong, one of two debutants for Suwon on the night, had his registration confirmed on the day of the match.
When questioned about the apparent lateness of the decision, the Suwon media manager interjected at the press conference.
It was explained that the ruling had initially been made in January by the Asian Football Confederation, which meant Chong could play as a South Korean player.
However, recently the club was confirming the situation with FIFA, which caused delays, the media manager said.
"Chong already has a South and North Korean passport," the media manager was quoted as saying.
With his side playing their first competitive fixture for 2013, former South Korean coach Seo seemed pleased with Suwon's effort.
"It was a difficult game and the weaknesses we have found during this game will be investigated and we will heal those and have a better game next up," Seo said via an interpreter
"When we were building up the play the attackers were not moving as they should, the build-up and movement of the players (needs to be improved.)
"It was the first game for the season ... having had a long flight, 10 hours from Korea to here (makes it hard).
"The playing surface was different to the home ground, it was a bit slippier, a bit watered down.
"In that sense it was adaptation that was the problem."
Suwon commence their K-League campaign this weekend with an away fixture against Seongnam Ilhwa.