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This is what happens to you in North Korea if you fail as the national football coach!


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When Fabio failed at the World Cup he kept his job. North Korea's coach? He's been sent to work on a building site



By Dan Newling

Last updated at 4:30 AM on 31st July 2010




England's disgraced World Cup footballers and coach Fabio Capello must be thankful they are not from Communist North Korea.

Here we just boo our players when they fail (or give them more money) but in Pyongyang they do things differently.

Their squad, which lost all three of its games in South Africa, has been subjected to a humiliating public dressing-down.

The hapless players spent six hours being lectured, in public, on their failure, during which they were accused of ‘betraying’ a son of dictator Kim Jong-il.


article-1299000-0AA1FEBC000005DC-74_468x288.jpg Poor performance: North Korea (in red), pictured against Brazil, faced a six-hour reprimand after losing all of their games at the World Cup


More than 400 government officials, athletes and students looked on as each player was told how their mistakes contributed to the team failing in its ‘ideological struggle’ to win.

Acting under coercion, every player blamed the defeat on coach Kim Jong-hun, who is thought to have been expelled from the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea and forced to work, unpaid, as a builder.

article-1299000-0AA1FD06000005DC-816_233x364.jpg Reprimanded: Coach Kim Jong Hun has been working as a builder since the World Cup


A source told South Korean media: ‘Coach Kim Jong-hun and the team were made to stand on a stage and other athletes and students took turns criticising them.


At the end, the team members were made to criticise their coach.’

The source went on to say that the theme of the ‘grand debate’ was ‘criticising the betrayal of the trust of Kim Jong-un’, Kim Jong-il’s son and heir apparent.


North Korea’s success in qualifying for the finals had prompted the Workers’ Party to organise countrywide celebratory lectures in recognition of ‘Young Genera l Kim Jong-un’ s accomplishment’.


This year’s World Cup finals were the first North Korea has competed in since 1966. The team lost 2-1 to Brazil, 3-0 to Ivory Coast and 7-0 to Portugal and went out at the group stage.

The Portugal defeat was especially humiliating as it was shown live on state television – the first time a foreign football match has ever been shown live there.

Ever since the team crashed out, experts on the hermit state have speculated that the players would be punished.

The bizarre public meeting took place on July 2. However, the highly secretive nature of the paranoid regime means that details have only just emerged.

The only players not at the meeting were Japan-born Jong Tae-se and An Yong-hak, who both fled to Japan immediately after the tournament.

Players ‘who participated in the World Cup were subjected to a session of harsh ideological criticism’, a Chinese businessman told South Korean media.


Experts on North Korea say the players actually got off rather lightly. ‘In the past, North Korean athletes who performed badly were sent to prison camps,’ one intelligence source said.

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