Ahn to stay with Italian club Perugia

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/W/Wcf2002.jpg' class='caption'> Serie A club Perugia which had threatened to fire the South Korean forward Ahn Jung-hwan said that he would stay with the team next season.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Serie A club Perugia which had threatened to fire the South Korean forward whose extra-time golden goal sent Italy packing from the World Cup said Monday that Ahn Jung-hwan will stay with the team next season. Perugia, which until now had Ahn on loan from K-League club Busan I.cons, has exercised its option and bought the player, said club spokesperson Paolo Giovagnoni. The option was to expire at the end of the month. Ahn has been with the Italian side since the start of the 2000-01 season, spending most of the time on the bench. His header lifted South Korea to a shocking 2-1 victory over Italy last week, delivering the three-time champions a humiliating elimination in the round of 16. Perugia owner Luciano Gaucci responded by telling Ahn he was not welcome back. "I am not going to pay the salary of a guy who has been the ruin of Italian soccer," he was quoted as saying by the Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday, a day after Italy's knockout. Gaucci's words drew criticism across the world and prompted the reaction of the Asian Football Confederation, which threatened to tell all Asian players to stay away from Perugia. In Britain a lawmaker demanded a European Union inquiry into the case, accusing the Italians Monday of breaking EU discrimination laws. "It was an emotional reaction, a provocation," Giovagnoni said of Gaucci's words, adding the team's decision was made independently of the World Cup game. The agreement was reached after a phone conversation Friday between Alessandro Gaucci, Perugia's chief executive, and the player. During the conversation, both Ahn and Gaucci expressed their respective desire to continue their relationship, said Giovagnoni. Financial details of the accord were not released. (AP)

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