Korea’s elite professional soccer league, the K League, is set to continue its ‘uncomfortable partnership’ with concerts in 2024.
The Hana OneQ K League 2023 tournament hasn’t even ended yet, and one of next year’s “World Cup Stadium Concerts” has already been announced. On May 8, popular touring singer Lim Young-woong announced his upcoming concert plans on his YouTube channel, saying, “May 2024 is the Seoul World Cup Stadium! See you in a bigger universe!” He even introduced the detailed dates, “May 25th and 26th, 2024. The last week of May next year is a weekend when the K League is certain to take place.굿모닝토토 주소
FC Seoul, which uses the Seoul World Cup Stadium as its home stadium, the Seoul Facilities Management Corporation, which manages the stadium, and Lim Young-woong’s agency reportedly discussed the concert in advance before the announcement was made, so there is no problem holding the concert. The concert could be rescheduled to an away game in consultation with the Korea Football Association.
The problem is the grass. The K League has been plagued by turf problems for the past two years. In 2022, the Incheon Football Stadium, the home of Incheon, and Mokdong Sports Complex, the home of Seoul E-Land, were controversial. The importance of lawn care became an issue. The KFA has been working with the Samsung C&T Grass Environment Research Center to improve the quality of K League grass. They spent time and money to change ‘non-durung’ to ‘carpet’.
This year, the keyword was ‘concert’. The hybrid grass at the Seoul World Cup Stadium was severely damaged in August after the closing ceremony of the Saemangeum World Scout Jamboree and a K-pop concert. Concert-related facilities such as stages were installed on the grass, causing even more damage. The government and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism stepped up to the plate to restore it, but it was unlikely to restore the hearts of soccer fans. Fans reacted strongly, saying, “Why is a K-pop concert damaging a billion-dollar lawn?” “Why should the K League pay for the damage caused by the Jamboree?” and “What is a ball game?” After the plans for Lim’s concert were revealed in May of next year, the soccer community and others expressed concern about the condition of the turf.
Seoul played the remaining games after the concert on turf that hadn’t been fully restored. Damaged turf can increase the risk of injury to players. Late last month, another K-pop concert, the Seogwipo Glocal Festa, was held at Jeju World Cup Stadium ahead of the FA Cup semifinals. When the organizers ask for cooperation, saying they need a big concert venue, the K League clubs, who do not own the stadium, have no right to object. They can only suffer from cold feet.
The fact that the singer opening the concert is Lim Young-woong raises certain expectations. Known as a “soccer enthusiast,” Lim made waves in April when he attended a league match between Seoul and Daegu at the Seoul World Cup Stadium and performed in futsal shoes at halftime because he was concerned about damaging the grass. This is why some fans said, “Lim Young-woong would take care of the turf.
However, soccer officials are concerned that damage to the grass is inevitable unless Lim performs in the stands and all the fans are seated in the stands. How long will the K League be forced to make concessions?