Sangmu Phoenix is being kicked out of South Korea's K-League for failing to meet the Asian Football Confederation's club licensing rules -- the club is operated for players doing their military services -- in a move its general manager Lee Jae Cheol described as "ludicrous," so the club has decided to boycott the second phase of the new split season.
The sticking point is that Sangmu doesn't own the rights to its players. Military service is mandatory for South Korean men between 18 and 35 except athletes who win an Olympic medal or an Asian Games gold medal. Sangmu players earn the same $72 a month privates earn, though they do also get bonuses.
Lee hoped the club could have been given until the end of the year to find a solution to the problem. "Our players have lost their motivation," he told Yonhap news agency. "If we'd been given until the end of this year, we'd have tried to meet the criteria. They didn't give us enough time to work things out."