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Perugia striker Han told to stay off Italian TV or be repatriated to North Korea

September 28 – A North Korean player on Perugia’s books has been barred from appearing on Italian TV – by the authorities in his own country.

The Serie B club president Massimiliano Santopadre says forward Kwang Song Han has been forced to take orders from his government even though Perugia pays his salary.

The 19-year-old has scored five goals in six Serie B games this season and is in big media demand. He was due to appear on RAI’s “La Domenica Sportiva” programme last weekend but only hours before he was due to drive up to Milan, where the programme is filmed, he apparently received a call from North Korea forbidding him to go.

“A call from a not very clear ministry figure arrived and it blocked everything,” Santopadre, who appeared on the programme with an empty seat next to him, told La Stampa.

“The situation with their (North Korea’s) government has become even more rigid and their footballers have been prohibited from appearing on TV. Otherwise they would have repatriated him. Han is scared.”

Santopadre said on RAI that the player was “locked in his room – he’s only 19 and didn’t feel up to appearing [on TV],” without revealing the real reason for his absence – until a few days later.

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