(WFI) FIFA are looking into reports that North Korea’s World Cup squad have received a governmental reprimand following their exit from the World Cup.
Radio Free Asia reported Thursday that coach Kim Jong-Hun and most of his squad were summoned to the People’s Palace of Culture in the capital Pyongyang for a public denunciation on 2 July.
The team's two Japanese-born players, Jong Tae-se and An Yong-hak, were exempt from the session.
This was allegedly led by Ri Dong-Kyu, a commentator for state TV, which made the 7-0 first round defeat to Portugal its first ever live sports broadcast.
Dong was reportedly joined by North Korea’s sports minister Myong Chol and around 400 government officials, students and athletes in a six-hour dressing down.
Intelligence sources were quoted saying that the theme of the session was "criticizing the betrayal of the trust of Kim Jong-un" –the Swiss-educated son of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and heir apparent.
Kim Jong-Hun was apparently made to work on a Pyongyang building site and expelled from the Workers' Party of Korea.
The Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoted a South Korean intelligence source: "In the past, North Korean athletes and coaches who performed badly were sent to prison camps.
"Considering the high hopes North Koreans had for the World Cup, the regime could have done worse things to the team than just reprimand them for their ideological shortcomings."
There is, nevertheless, also a long record of South Korean intelligence disseminating misinformation about North Korea and a chance that the reports may be false or exaggerated.
FIFA takes a dim view of any governmental interference in football and issued stern warnings to the French Football Federation after the country’s politicians became embroiled in inquests after its farcical exit from South Africa last month.
Iraq is the latest country to face FIFA expulsion after alleged government influence in its FA.
A FIFA spokesman told INSIDER that they were aware of the North Korean reports but was unable to comment while they were still being investigated.