The Korean Football Association (KFA) has handed down a severe punishment of a 15-match suspension and a 4 million won ($4,000,000)바카라사이트 fine to Suwon FC specialist striker Lars Veldwijk (32, Netherlands), who was recently caught driving under the influence of alcohol.
“The Korean Professional Football Association (KPFA) held its 10th punishment committee and decided to impose a 15-match suspension and a fine of 4 million won on Suwon FC’s Lars Veltwijk,” the KPFA announced on Tuesday.
The league said, “Rath was caught by police on the morning of the 7th while driving under the influence of alcohol. His blood alcohol level was found to be above the level of a revoked licence,” the federation added.
This is bad news for Suwon FC. With six wins, five draws and 14 losses (23 points) this season, Suwon FC is in 10th place in the relegation zone of the 12-team K League 1. They are only eight points behind ninth-placed Jeju United (8 wins, 7 draws, 10 losses, 31 points). Of course, there are still 13 games to go. However, it’s clear that it’s not going to be easy considering how tight the race is going to get.
But Lars is arguably Suwon’s most important asset. The Dutch-born, South African international played for Sparta Rotterdam in the Dutch league until 2020. He then joined Jeonbuk Hyundai in January 2020 before moving to Suwon FC, which was then in the K League 2, in July that year. Led by Lars’ five goals in the second half of the season alone, Suwon eventually won promotion to the top flight.
In 2021, Rath was even better. He led the team’s attack with 18 goals and six assists, including in the K League and FA Cup. With Rath’s help, Suwon FC had a breakout season with 14 wins, nine draws, and 15 losses, finishing in fifth place. Rath was all smiles as he was named in the K League 1 Best 11 that year. He followed that up with eight goals and seven assists in 34 appearances last season, helping the team stay in the top flight. This season, Rath is still second in the K League 1 in attacking points with nine goals and five assists. He has the most goals and assists on the team.
Rath poses in front of the Suwon Janganmun after signing a new contract with Suwon FC in August 2021. /Photo courtesy of the Korea Football Association
Ras (left) in the 2021 K League 1 Best 11. /Photo courtesy of the Korean Football Association
Suwon FC’s Ras (centre). /Photo: Courtesy of the Korean Football Association
◆ A drink-driving offence and an instant downfall… In the past, Kunimoto and Jonatan have both left the team for drink-driving offences.
Lars made waves when he was arrested for drink-driving on the 7th. At the time, Suwon FC said through its official channel, “We would like to inform our fans that Lars was caught driving under the influence of alcohol in the early hours of the day and is being investigated by the police. We sincerely apologise to the fans who have always supported and loved Suwon FC and Ras,” the club said, adding, “The club has informed the KFA of Ras’ drunk driving arrest and will follow up with appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the club’s regulations.”
According to the Gangnam Police Station in Seoul, Lars was caught driving drunk on a road near Sinsa Station in Gangnam-gu, Seoul at 4am on the 7th. At the time, police responded to a report of “suspected drunk driving,” and Lars was arrested at the scene. He reportedly had no passengers and did not cause any other accidents. Police charged Lars with an offence under the Road Traffic Act (drink driving). A breath test revealed that Lars had a blood alcohol level of over 0.08%, which is enough to revoke his licence. According to the current KFA regulations, if a player’s blood alcohol level falls within the criteria for a licence revocation, he will be suspended for a period of not less than 15 games and not more than 25 games and fined more than 8 million won.
At this point, it seems likely that Rath will leave Suwon FC and be banned from the Korean game altogether. Other recent foreign players to be banned for drink-driving include Kunimoto of Jeonbuk Hyundai and Jonatan Moya of FC Anyang. Kunimoto caused a stir when he was involved in a drink-driving accident in July last year, and Jeonbuk Hyundai eventually pulled the release card. At the time, the federation suspended Kunimoto for 60 days for causing a social uproar. At the time, Jeonbuk explained, “The matter is obvious and serious, so we reached an early contract termination by mutual agreement with the player.”
Then, in April, Jonatan, who was leading the K League 2 scoring charts at the time, was given a release notice by his club, FC Anyang. Jonatan hung his head in shame after being caught drinking by police on 2 April. His blood alcohol level reached the level that would have revoked his licence. “Due to the seriousness of the matter, the club decided to terminate the contract with Jonatan early,” Anyang FC said in a statement explaining the release. At the time, the federation also imposed a 60-day suspension on Jonatan.
Kunimoto, formerly of Jeonbuk Hyundai. /Photo courtesy of the KFA
Jonatan, formerly of Anyang FC. /Photo courtesy of the KFA
Suwon FC: “There is no unconditional contract cancellation” What’s next?
Suwon FC immediately excluded Lars from training as soon as he was caught drinking. On the 8th of this month, Suwon FC said through the federation’s punishment committee, “The drunk driving of a player that is not eradicated in the K League has sounded the alarm, and despite the club’s continuous education of the players, an unsavoury incident that is socially condemned has occurred. The club recognised the gravity of the situation and held a long discussion. At a time when the team is on the cusp of turning around its recent relegation battle, this unforgivable offence by a foreign player who plays a pivotal role in the team has resulted in the immediate suspension of the player from training and matches.”
“In line with the opinion that unconditional termination of contracts such as the recent cases of other clubs is not helpful in preventing future recurrences, we will once again hold a meeting of the club’s player management committee after the outcome of the federation’s punishment committee on Tuesday. All professional footballers in the K League have a huge responsibility as public figures, and we made the decision based on the judgement that driving under the influence of alcohol for any reason is an unacceptable criminal offence. We would like to apologise once again to the fans who love Suwon FC and all those involved in football for any distress caused by this incident.”