Son Heung-min’s father questioned in child abuse investigation

July 3, 2024

Son Woong-jung, the father of South Korean football star Son Heung-min and director of his namesake football academy, has been questioned by prosecutors over his child abuse allegations, sources said Wednesday.

Per sources, prosecutors in Chuncheon, some 75 kilometers northeast of Seoul, questioned Son and two of his coaches at Son Football Academy on Tuesday over charges that they had physically and verbally abused a young player. The academy is also located in the same Gangwon Province town.

One of the coaches has been identified as Son Heung-yoon, older brother of Heung-min.

The parents of the player reported the elder Son, 62, and the two coaches to police in March after discovering a bruise on their son’s thigh, following a training camp in Okinawa, Japan.

The two coaches were accused of striking the player, while Son Woong-jung faces charges that he had verbally abused the player over mistakes during training sessions.

Gangwon provincial police forwarded the case to the prosecution in April, and prosecutors summoned the three accused coaches for the first time this week.

The senior Son has denied abuse allegations against himself and his coaches. The 62-year-old has also claimed that the player’s parents have made false accusations and that he was willing to cooperate with the authorities.

These allegations surfaced last Wednesday, and Son Woong-jung proceeded with the signing event for his second essay in Seoul later the same day as scheduled.

A former player himself, Son has enjoyed increased prominence in recent years for raising one of the greatest players in South Korean football history. His disciplinarian teaching of Son Heung-min, who became the first Asian player to win the Premier League Golden Boot as the top scorer in 2022, has generated a great deal of media interest both in South Korea and overseas.