Korean Tycoon Rewards The World Cup Squad An Extra 2 Billion Won After Controversy

The decision came after speculations that the KFA pocketed World Cup reward money.

Chung Mong Gyu, the Hyundai scion and the president of the Korea Football Association, is reportedly giving ₩2.00 billion KRW (about $1.55 million USD) of his own money to the South Korean football team.

Chung Mong Gyu | Wikimedia Commons

The national team led by coach Bento showed the development of Korean football with good game content and good results in this Qatar World Cup, and gave football fans great courage and hope as well with the Korean people. In addition to the prize money previously set, as president of the association, I decided to make the donation because I wanted to express a special thank you to the athletes for their hard work.”

—Chung Mong Gyu

The decision came after speculations arose that the association had pocketed a large chunk of the reward money given by FIFA instead of giving it to the players. Earlier this month, it was reported that even if South Korea didn’t win against Brazil, the players would be entitled to a record-breaking amount of reward money. The Qatar World Cup has a total dividend of ₩570 billion KRW (about $442 million USD), the highest in the history of the FIFA World Cup.

The Korean national team training at the Al Egla training center in Doha, Qatar| NEWS1

The total money is supposed to be split among the participating team according to FIFA regulations, depending on each team’s performance. The 32 teams that advanced to the Group Stage each received ₩1.90 billion KRW (about $1.47 million USD) by default. The 16 teams who got eliminated from the group stage received another ₩11.6 billion KRW (about $8.99 million USD). The ones who advanced to the next round received an additional ₩16.9 billion KRW (about $13.1 million USD) and so on.

President Yoon Suk Yeol with the South Korean national football team at a dinner banquet at the Blue House guest house | Korea JoongAng Daily

Since the Taeguk Warriors (South Korea’s national team) advanced to the round of 16 from Group H, they secured a total of ₩18.8 billion KRW (about $14.6 million USD) from the default ₩1.90 billion KRW (about $1.47 million USD) and the bonus of 16.9 billion won from advancing.

After the national squad returned from the World Cup, the KFA faced criticism on multiple accounts, including pocketing the reward money and not providing appropriate resources to the team.

Korea Football Association President Chung Mong Gyu (right) with former national football team manager Paulo Bento | News1

But the speculations against KFA’s embezzlement are opposed by reports that state that they spent most of the money on necessary channels. ₩7.90 billion KRW (about $6.12 million USD) was spent on running the national team for the Asian World Cup qualifiers and finals. Another [krw [1.6 billion [/krw] was paid to repay FIFA loans, and [krw] 3.3 billion [/krw] was already distributed as a prize among players who passed the Asian World Cup Qualifiers.

The South Korean national squad after defeating Portugal at the Qatar World Cup | theathletic.com

Apparently, the KFA initially planned to distribute more than 50% of dividends among players. But as that payment plan fell through, Chung Mong Gyu chipped in with his own money. With his additional contribution, the total prize money for the World Cup players will be increased to ₩11.5 billion KRW (about $8.92 million USD), which will be distributed evenly among the 26 players.