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South Korea's Football Coach Said He Made Players Switch Shirts Because "Western People Don’t Recognise Asian People’s Faces"


Posted on June 18, 2018, at 8:48 a.m. ET

On Sunday at a press conference in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, South Korea football coach Shin Tae-yong told reporters that he made players switch shirts during recent friendlies to "confuse" opponents.

Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP / Getty Images

Shin said that this was possible as Westerners struggle to distinguish Asian people.

"We switched them around because we didn't want to show our opponents everything and to try and confuse them," he told the BBC. "They might know a few of our players but it is very difficult for Westerners to distinguish between Asians and that's why we did that."

Shin said that this happened in games against Senegal and Bolivia and that two players (Son Heung-min and captain Ki Sung-yueng) did not switch shirts.

The reveal comes as their opponents in Monday's group stage World Cup game, Sweden, admitted to accidentally spying on the South Korean team while they were training.

Sweden's coach Lars Jacobbson apologized for an unidentifed scout, saying in a press conference on Sunday, "He heard about a practice session, he didn’t understand that it was a closed session, he didn’t understand and he watched from a distance."

Despite the spy claims, most people on Twitter seemed to focus on Shin's sneaky shirt swapping, which they thought was hilarious.

yes SK use that perceptual bias to your advantage

And was a pretty great way of using racist stereotypes to an advantage.

he called yall racist lmaooooo

South Korea's coach is a #genius tactician.

South Korea’s coach had his players wear four different numbers during training to confuse Swedish spies. His reasoning was “I heard Europeans can’t tell our players apart by their faces” 😂😂😂😂😂

I'm now 100% more invested in this World Cup.

South Korea's coach made players SWAP shirts in their recent friendlies to confuse opponents, because "westerns can't distinguish between asians" LDJSKDJSKKBITCY MY LUNGS

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.