The Korean Football Association has rejected the Napoli vs Mallorca domestic friendly. However, despite the fact that the 15-day deadline for approval has already passed, the organizers are still pushing ahead with the match. The organizers also explained how they were unable to fulfill the conditions set by Fifa.
On June 25, Fifa said it would not allow a friendly between Napoli and Mallorca. The organizers tried to get approval for two matches on June 8 and 10. The 10th game was canceled because it conflicted with a K League 1 match and the organizers did not have the consent of the Korean Professional Football Association. The 8th game was canceled because the deposit was not received by the 25th. The deposit was 30% of the expected gate revenue, or 2.4 billion won. A second option of submitting a deposit of 800 million won and a bond trust agreement was briefly considered, but it was canceled first.
‘Footballist’ spoke with StadiumX, one of the organizing consortiums, to get their side of the story. StadiumX said, “It is true that we received a notice from the Korean Football Association that the event cannot be held. The deadline was 25 days, 15 days before the event, according to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) regulations. However, we believe there is still room for negotiation,” he said, adding that they have not yet given up on the June 8 match.
The organizers’ argument is that they cannot be blamed for not having the deposit ready. The organizers claimed to have 2.4 billion won ready within two days of the 23rd approval committee. However, it was not 2.4 billion won in cash, but in the form of an escrow account because the approval was conditional on investment. An escrow account is a bank account that holds the money and deposits it when the transaction is confirmed. Since the organizers could not deposit the money immediately, it was best to set up an account where the money would be automatically deposited once the federation wrote a letter of approval. The organizers’ position is that the deadline from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the 25th was extended to 5 p.m. as the Football Association reviewed this option, but when 5 p.m. was approaching, they were informed that it had to be a deposit method.
The organizers said, “In light of this situation, although we were unable to make the deposit in the form of a timely transfer, we have shown that we have the ability to hold the event while accommodating the needs of the association as much as possible.” They also said, “A small company prepared a large amount of money, 2.4 billion won, to prepare for this project, but the collapse has already caused a huge loss. However, for the sake of trust with the clubs and soccer fans who heard the pre-announced schedule, we have not yet given up on the 8th game and want to continue the dialog,” he said, 스포츠토토 adding that despite the tight deadline, he would like to make it happen.
In response, a representative from the Football Association said, “Recently, we have been reluctant to use escrow accounts. It takes days to go through the process, and we believe it’s a stalling tactic to get past the AFC approval deadline. There was also a concern that the organizers could start selling tickets before the escrow account was set up,” explaining why they rejected the organizers’ proposal.