The Japan Football Association said Thursday it won’t file a formal complaint with its South Korean counterpart over a controversial goal celebration by Celtic midfielder Ki Sung Yong in Tuesday’s Asian Cup semifinal in Doha.
Ki was accused of “insulting Japanese people” by impersonating a monkey after opening the scoring for South Korea with a penalty kick 23 minutes into the match.
Asked about it by South Korean officials at the request of the Japan association, Ki said it was merely a response to the fans of opposing teams of his club side that taunt him with racist chants.
“That performance was not directed at Japanese people,” Ki said. “When I play at Celtic our opponents’ fans call me a monkey and the celebration was toward people who make such racist remarks.”
The Japan association said its South Korean counterpart apologized for the misunderstanding caused by Ki’s celebration.
Japan beat South Korea 3-0 on penalties after the game finished tied at 2-2. Japan faces Australia in the Asian Cup final Saturday in the Qatari capital.
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