Asian Men’s Olympic Qualification (Kuwait Beats Host Japan while Koreans Express Outrage Over Referee Bias)

Kuwait solidified its 1st place status at the Asian Men’s Olympic Qualification by beating host Japan 29-27, while South Korea bounced back from their opening round loss to Kuwait with an easy 35-14 victory over Qatar. But, in all likelihood the Koreans will have to be resigned to no better than 2nd place as Kuwait’s remaining games are against Qatar and winless UAE.

The controversy from the opening round game against Kuwait is getting significant media play in Japan and South Korea. The Hankyoreh Newspaper in South Korea reported multiple allegations against the IHF, Asian Handball Federation, and the Jordanians who refereed the South Korea – Kuwait match. The article notes the following:
1) Japanese fans protested the referee and the match had to be stopped due to bottles being thrown on the floor. (Note: Japan and South Korea are huge rivals, stemming from Japan’s occupation of Korea and for Japanese fans to protest to that extent on behalf of the Koreans is almost a story in itself)
2) German refs were supposed to have officiated the subject match, but were replaced at the last moment by the Jordanian pair.
3) A Russian IHF spokesman “warned” the referees during the match
4) That the IHF has favored Kuwait due to Kuwait’s support in helping Hassan Moustaffa become IHF president
5) That Kuwait has undue control over the AHF due to its “oil money”
6) That 100 members of the Korean Handball Federation plan to protest at the Kuwaiti Embassy in Seoul on Monday, 3 September.

Note: the article mistakenly notes that a Kuwaiti Prince is President of the IHF. Instead, they are likely referring to Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah who is President of the AHF.

Hankyoreh article:

[b]Match Results[/b]
Kuwait – South Korea 28-20
Japan – UAE 33 – 28
Qatar – UAE 33 – 28
South Korea – Qatar 35 – 14
Japan – Kuwait 27 -29

[b]Current Standings W T L Pts GF GA GD[/b]
Kuwait 2 0 0 4 57 47 10 +10
South Korea 1 0 1 2 55 42 +13
Japan 1 0 1 2 60 57 3
Qatar 1 0 1 2 47 63 -16
UAE 0 0 2 0 56 66 -10

[b]Remaining Matches[/b]
4 September
UAE – Kuwait

5 September
Japan – Qatar
South Korea – UAE

6 September
Kuwait – Qatar
South Korea – Japan

Match Reports: