Can Son Heung-min avoid mandatory military service in South Korea?
Spursí South Korean striker, Son_Heung-min has one last chance to avoid the mandatory call-up for military service that all South Korean males have to face. If he fails to qualify for an exemption, he will be spirited away by the South Korean armed forces for a period of anywhere between 21 and 24 months minimum, depending on which branch of the armed services he enters into.
Exemptions from national service are reasonably rare, but they do happen. A far as footballers are concerned for example, all of the players in the South Korean national side that got to the second round of the World Cup in 2002 (the one that was held in South Korea and Japan), and also in 2006, when the side got to the semi-finals, were exempted from national service.
But this yearís World Cup squad who went out in the first round, despite beating Germany 2-0 didnít do enough to skip the national duty. But all may not yet be lost from the Spursí player's point of view.
The last chance for Son to gain an exemption is likely to be if the South Korean football team can take the gold medal in the forthcoming 2018 Asian Games. It looks as though he could be in with a shout as it is thought he has already been given permission by Pochettino to take part in the competition; even though it means he will not be available for Spurs opening matches in the new Premiership season.
Spurs will hope that Harry Kane remains fit for these opening games. When he was injured, the season before last, as Darren Anderton said, it was Son who stepped up to the mark and started scored goals left, right and centre. That wonít be an option with Son playing in the Asian Games.
The next Asian Games are being held in South Korea. They commence on the 8th of August with the football competition beginning on the 14th of August. The football final is scheduled to take place on the 1st of September.
If Son does decide to play the Games, he is most likely to have to travel to South Korea on the same weekend that the opening matches of the Premier League will take place.
Technically, he could play in the Spurs team that faces Newcastle on the 11th August, but with the chances of picking up an injury that would dash any chance of him being available for the Asian Games, that is extremely unlikely.
If the South Korean team does reach the finals, it means that as far as Tottenham Hotspur is concerned, in addition to the Newcastle game, Son will also miss the games against Fulham, Manchester United, and Watford.
So, what are South Koreaís chances of winning the gold medal? Well, they are the current Asian Games champions. In 2014, they beat North Korea in the final, in the second period of extra time, winning 1-0. This bodes well for them, but they are in one of the toughest opening groups.
Group E, which is where South Korea find themselves, pitches them against Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan, and Malaysia. All teams are mostly made up from under-23-year-olds. But each squad is allowed three older players, and at 26, Son is one of South Korea's seniors. With his Premiership experience, his is also one of their best players.
Son is hoping his South Korea will retain their gold medal status, and that players are granted exemption from military service, and if Spurs fans would like to see that too, they will be keeping their fingers crossed.
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