KFA cancels World Cup street rallies after Itaewon tragedy
The Korea Football Association announced Friday that it has cancelled plans to hold street rallies during the 2022 Qatar World Cup out of respect for the victims of the Itaewon Halloween tragedy.
The KFA had applied for use of central Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square throughout the World Cup, which runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18, where it planned to hold viewing parties during matches.
“We had been working with the city of Seoul to organize street cheering, but decided it was the wrong thing to do at this time,” a statement from the KFA said. “We felt it was inappropriate to have public cheering in Seoul less than a month after the Itaewon tragedy.
“We’d like to pay our respects to the victims and their families.”
The decision comes after 156 people, mostly in their 20s and 30s, were killed in a deadly crowd crush during Halloween celebrations in central Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood on Nov. 29. A period of national mourning began after the tragedy and is set to finish on Saturday night.
Street rallies have been held in Seoul during every World Cup since the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. The events were originally organized by sponsoring companies until the 2018 Russia World Cup, when FIFA and the Seoul Metropolitan Government jointly hosted the event.
The 2022 Qatar World Cup kicks off on Nov. 20 with Korea set to play their opening game against Uruguay on Nov. 24. The game will be broadcast in Korea at 10 p.m.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]