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South Korean group aims to squash World Cup fever

Written by: Staff

SEOUL, June 7 (Reuters) A South Korean civic group has launched a campaign to curb World Cup fever in the Asian country, saying it was diverting attention from more pressing needs and had become too commercial.

The group, Culture Alliance, said in a message posted on a Korean World Cup Web site that its members would deface posters promoting the World Cup with stickers criticising the sporting event as a massive diversion.

The stickers carry phrases such as: ''Aren't there things more valuable in South Korea than the World Cup right now?'' and ''World Cup marketing is taking away my passion for soccer.'' Culture Alliance says it is an umbrella group that brings together about 100 civic groups and organisations.

''Korean society doesn't seem to care about anything else but soccer right now,'' the group said in its Web posting. ''But the World Cup is a plague that masks everything important in our lives.'' Group officials were not immediately available for comment.

The protest almost certainly will not have any major impact on South Korean soccer fever.

In recent friendlies, tens of thousands of South Koreans have converged on outdoor plazas in Seoul to watch warm-up games on big screen television.

The country is awash with red for the colour of the national side and advertising is saturated with companies trying to promote their products through tie-ins with the soccer team.

Reuters AY GC1042

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