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Coach Shields South Korean Squad

May 4, 2002

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Dutch head coach Guus Hiddink has moved to limit news media access to South Korea’s World Cup squad at its last-pitch training program on the southern island of Jeju, a hotel official said Saturday.

The 56-room Paradise Hotel, which the national team is renting for two weeks until May 14, said it is shielding its facilities from news media as well as the public. Players’ rooms were also blocked from outside phone calls.

``We are imposing these restrictions at the request of Mr. Hiddink. He wanted to keep the players from disruptions,″ said Han Ji-hye, a Paradise Hotel official.

South Korea’s national Yonhap news agency reported the Korean Football Association has warned of ``discrimination″ against news media that seek unauthorized interviews with players.

Association officials were not immediately available on Saturday to confirm the report.

Hiddink told players to ignore questions from reporters, Yonhap said.

He is trying to strengthen his team before the May 31-June 30 tournament, which will be co-hosted by South Korea and Japan.

South Korea has never won a match in the World Cup finals. It hopes that playing at home will help its team advance to the second round for the first time.

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