A few weeks ago, when I wrote about the North Korean team at the World Cup, fears were already being quietly expressed among various Far East experts on how the degenerate lunatic who owns every North Koreans' life would respond to his team being humiliated on the field.
It was noted at the time that after the team qualified, North Korean media lavished prase on the "leadership" and "inspiration" which came from Kim Jong-ils'' son and heir apparent. Workers’ Party meetings and lectures for students were organized to celebrate “Young Gen. Kim Jong Un’s accomplishment."
The speculation was that if the team did poorly that it would be viewed in Pyongyand as a "betrayal" and leave the players subject to punishment by a regime that knows little and cares less about the norms of human decency. Sadly, reports from Radio Free Asia and the South Korean media indicate that those fears were well founded.
In early July, the entire team - with the exception of the two players who were born in Japan - were summoned to an auditorium where, on the stage in front of 400 people, they were subjected to a six hour public humiliation.
First, the announcer who had called the teams' games over North Korean State Radio - until, it should be noted, the middle of the Portugal match when without explanation the play-by-play ceased leaving only crowd noise going out over the air - was forced to criticize the efforts of each player on the team.
Other officials, including the Sports Minister, then brutally denounced the players individually and collectively for having failed in their "ideological struggle"
This was followed by individual confessions of failure by each individual player, who were then forced to denounce North Korean coach Kim Jung Hun who was not in attendance.
Ominously, he was denounced for personally “betraying the Young Gen. Kim Jong Un”.
Observers are saying that this choice of words likely means that Coach Kims' safety is in jeopardy.
They note that in recent months, North Korea has executed two top officials – one who oversaw a recent disastrous currency revaluation and another in charge of diplomatic talks with South Korea. Both were subjected to the same accusations of treachery before they faced the firing squad.
As it is, it is being widely reportd that the coach has been stripped of his Workers' Party membership, been made a prisoner of the State and sent to work as a slave laborer in a punishment oriented construction project.
So the question now is: in light of FIFAs' well-known strictures against "government interference" in football affairs, what will Sepp Blatters' response be?
The Old Crook goes into high dudgeon when a government merely tries to get a national team coach fired. With that in mind, how stands the ExCo when national team coaches are sent to the Gulag?
One thing is certain: no self-respecting nation can possibly accept a fixture with North Korea until Coach Kims' health and well being can be independently verified.
Otherwise, how can any opposing player take the field knowing that by simply playing his best and trying to win he may be consigning his opponent to punishment and putting their coachs' life in danger?
It is an absolute moral imperative that FIFA must not be allowed to shirk. No FIFA Executive or National Federation leader can be allowed to step in front of a microphone without being asked to address one simple question:
What are you prepared to do about North Korea?