In this photo taken on Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, South Korea's Park Jong-woo holds up a banner reading "Dokdo is our Territory," referring to the largely uninhabited islets, midway between South Korea and Japan, after his team won their bronze medal men's soccer match against Japan, at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. / AP Photo/Jon Super
(AP) LONDON - The International Olympic Committee is withholding a bronze medal from a South Korean soccer player until disciplinary cases are completed after he displayed a political sign while celebrating a victory against Japan.
The IOC told South Korea to bar Park Jong-woo from the medal ceremony at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
IOC President Jacques Rogge says football's governing body FIFA must first decide on possible sanctions, and that "we will take a possible decision of what will happen with the medal later."
After South Korea won on Friday, Park displayed a sign with the national flag and a slogan supporting sovereignty over disputed islets that Japan also claims.
The IOC and FIFA prohibit on-field political statements.
When the men's soccer medals were presented at Wembley Stadium following Mexico's 2-1 win over Brazil in the gold-medal match, only 17 of the 18 South Korean players were on the field for the ceremony. Park was not among them.
The IOC had begun an investigation into Park's actions, and FIFA said it has opened a separate investigation to discipline the athlete.
South Korea defeated Japan 2-0 in Cardiff, Wales, on Friday, hours after President Lee Myung-bak raised diplomatic tensions by traveling to the islets. The presidential visit prompted Japan to recall its ambassador from Seoul.
Photos of the player holding a sign on the field during the celebration by South Korea were passed along to FIFA to determine if any further disciplinary action will be taken, the governing body said.
South Korea stations a small contingent of police officers on the islets in a show of control, but Japan maintains that the rocks are its territory. Tokyo renewed the claim last month in an annual defense report.
During his visit Friday, Lee reportedly told police officers there that the islets are "worth sacrificing lives for," according to the presidential office.
Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said it was "incomprehensible why (Lee) would make this trip at this time,"
On Aug. 15, South Korea will commemorate the peninsula's independence in 1945 from 35 years of Japanese colonial rule.