The ‘jamboree rush’ controversy that sparked the soccer world has claimed a second and third victim. This time, it’s FC Seoul and the Seoul Facilities Management Corporation.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced that the 2023 World Scouting Jamboree K-pop concert and closing ceremony will be held at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Nov. 11.
The ministry has twice changed the venue of the event to the detriment of clubs competing in the Korean Football Association (FA) Cup and K League 1. The event was initially scheduled to take place at Saemangeum Outdoor Special Stage on the 6th, but was moved to Jeonju World Cup Stadium on the 11th. In preparation for the event, the FA Cup quarterfinal match between Jeonbuk Hyundai and Incheon United, scheduled for the 9th at Jeonju World Cup Stadium, was canceled. However, due to Typhoon Kanun, the Jamboree organizers decided to move the event back to Seoul World Cup Stadium a day later.
While Seoul is without a home game this weekend, the soccer clubs and the Seoul Facilities Management Corporation are upset because they have spent a long time managing the 1 billion won hybrid turf.
In October 2021, the facility management organization laid a new hybrid turf made up of 95 percent natural grass and 5 percent artificial turf in response to criticisms about the condition of the turf at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, which has hosted national A matches. The grass pimples have been reduced, and the drainage system has been transformed into an excellent ground. It is famous for investing a budget of 1 billion won.
Since then, the facility management organization has been determined to keep the turf at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, a “soccer mecca” that hosts Korea’s top professional soccer league and A matches, at the highest level even in peacetime. The stadium was not allowed to host large concerts, which would have been a major source of revenue, to prevent damage to the turf. A recent large-scale religious event was allowed to take place, but the stage was set up in section E, where there are adjustable seats. This was done without damaging the turf.
However, the Jamboree is reportedly planning to set up a stage near the goalposts in Section S, with an overhanging stage that will allow the audience to breathe. The stage extends out to the ground area. Even though they said that they would lay protective pads around the grass to fill the audience, the damage to the grass is obvious.
At a briefing on the emergency evacuation status of the Jamboree on the 9th, Minister of Public Administration and Security Lee Sang-min admitted that “there is a possibility of damage to the stadium grass,” and said, “We are trying to find ways to minimize it. I understand that the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has changed the venue through various consultations.” 꽁머니
It seems that the domestic professional soccer community is hoping for a “sacrifice” in the government’s urgent follow-up plan for the Jamboree. As one senior soccer player put it, “It’s an indication of the government’s awareness of the social value of sports beyond soccer. A senior soccer player lamented, “It’s ‘just soccer’ to them.” He added, “This behavior of soccer, the nation’s leading professional sport, bending to the government’s whims, stems from the fact that the stadium is operated by the Facilities Management Corporation. It is necessary to change to a system where clubs retain the right to operate stadiums through long-term leases or negotiations that fit their conditions.”