S. Korea club sorry for Japan quake banner

29 September 2011 09:05

A South Korean K-League club has apologised to the people of Japan after its fans displayed a banner which made light of the country's earthquake and tsunami disaster.

"We extend our sincere apology to Japanese people and football fans," Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors said in a statement on its website.

A paper banner reading "Let's celebrate Japan's big earthquake!" in Japanese was hung from the stands occupied by Jeonbuk supporters during Tuesday's Asian Champions League quarter-final second leg against Japan's Cerezo Osaka.

The banner was removed about 20 minutes into the game in the southwestern city of Jeonju after Cerezo lodged a complaint with organisers. The Japanese club sent a letter of complaint to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Jeonbuk beat Cerezo 6-1 to reach the semi-finals.

"We believe it was done by an indiscreet spectator, not by our supporters," Jeonbuk spokesman Son Ji-Hoon told AFP, adding his club plans to refer the case to prosecutors.

Jeonbuk has sent an written apology to the AFC, Cerezo and Japan's football association, he said.

Older South Koreans still have bitter memories of Japan's harsh colonial role over Korea from 1910-45. Ties have also been strained by Japan's claims to Seoul-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

Source: AFP