Wolves Korea Tour update

With great regret, Wolves can confirm that the club has been forced to withdraw from its pre-season fixtures and tour to South Korea next month.

The withdrawal from the scheduled matches, which were set to take place at the end of July, comes after numerous financial and logistical obligations were not met by the tour’s promoter, Stadium X/USG.

Wolves were due to play Europa League finalists AS Roma and Scottish champions Celtic, but after weeks of delays by the promotors and tickets not yet on sale for the matches, the difficult decision has been made to terminate the contract with the promoters and pull out of the tour.

General manager for marketing and commercial growth Russell Jones has expressed his huge disappointment that matters beyond the club’s control have caused Wolves’ first ever visit to Korea to not go ahead. 

The trip was set to mark a significant milestone in the club's history and provide an exciting opportunity for supporters in the UK, Korea and across the world, but with its cancellation, Jones understands that many fans will be left upset at not being able to see the Old Gold in Asia this summer.

“I feel incredibly disappointed that we’re not going to be able to fulfil the commitments that we made in South Korea this summer, not only for our partners and suppliers, but, of course for Hee Chan and all of our fans,” Jones said. 

“We are absolutely gutted to not be going to Korea. We’re all devastated because we had so many different things planned for supporters that we’re now not going to be able to fulfil.

“To the supporters in Korea, we want reiterate to you that we are committed to the Korean market and we hope to find a way to demonstrate that to you, in spite of the disappointing news about the upcoming tour and matches.”

The tour was due to see Julen Lopetegui’s side prepare for their 2023/24 Premier League season with friendly fixtures against Roma and Celtic in Incheon and Suwon respectively, but those matches will no longer go ahead as planned.

Fans who have pre-booked travel to Korea are asked to contact Fan Services so the club can understand the level of disruption to supporters.

“It’s not just Wolves who have been affected by this, it’s all three clubs that are part of this tour,” Jones explained.

“The tour was brought to us by a well-respected and established group, so it gave us confidence that this would be a really exciting tour and at no point whatsoever did we think we’d be in the position we are right now.

“We have been in close dialogue with the tour promoters for the past two months as they sought new investment, following the loss of the original tour investor, but unfortunately, and despite numerous promises, they have not delivered.

“We’ve not taken this decision lightly and have explored every avenue thoroughly in an attempt to not let our fans down, including numerous conversations with other local promoters.

“Of course, this decision is a big blow to the club from a commercial perspective, but I am fully aware of the most important reason for pre-season, which is the preparation for another important Premier League campaign.

“Because of this, we have to move on quickly from this disappointment. We have to adapt, and will find a European solution to ensure the best possible preparation.”

Jones has also expressed his disappointment for fans in Korea who were hoping to see Hee Chan Hwang welcome his Wolves teammates to his home country.

“Korea was an exciting proposition for us because of the impact Hee Chan has had on the club from a marketing perspective, but also because of a lot of the work we have done over the last 12 months and the growth we have seen amongst our fan base in Korea. 

“In the last three or four months, there have been so many people who have put a lot of hard work into this tour from an operational perspective.

“We wanted to give our fans in Korea – both those who exist currently, and hopefully lots of new fans – an amazing opportunity to meet the players and take part in different events and activities which we have been arranging.

“We already had a lot prepared and planned for our fans in Korea and we were really looking forwards to meeting them. This is why we’ve allowed this situation to play out as long as we have, but we have now reached the point where we’ve had to make the very difficult decision to source alternative plans for this summer.

“I’d like to put on record my thanks to the multiple suppliers and partners who have worked relentlessly to prepare for our arrival in Korea, and although we are all bitterly disappointed, we hope our fans understand that this situation was out of our control.”

Although Wolves were hoping the tour could still go ahead less than a month prior to the scheduled arrivals in Korea, preparation for the first-team players and staff had to be a priority.

Alternate long-distance tours have been offered to Wolves, but Jones has acknowledged the operational challenges of arranging a different tour at such short notice would have impacted too much on the team’s preparations for the 2023/24 season.

“The football side of the business have been heavily involved in the operations of this tour, taking multiple trips to Korea already, so we know the staff and players are also extremely disappointed that the promoter has let us down.

“The players will soon be returning for pre-season and will want to know exactly what they will be doing, so, unfortunately, we can’t let this situation drag on any longer.

“The focus now has to be making sure the team’s preparation for the new season is as good as it possibly can be.”