North Korea releases World Cup postage stamps

North Korea releases World Cup postage stamps

SEOUL - North Korea has released a set of postage stamps to mark the World Cup in Brazil, state media reported Wednesday, reflecting the high popularity of the sport in the reclusive state.

The sheet of postage stamps and three single commemorative stamps carry images of football players variously clasping the World Cup trophy, holding a football and dribbling, according to Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"A stamp with a picture of (a) kicking football player was centred in the sheet carrying a football and the World Cup," KCNA said.

It did not say which players were pictured on the stamps.

Despite its failure to gain a place in the World Cup, the North's state television has aired taped recordings of matches filmed by a South Korean broadcaster, according to the South's Yonhap news agency.

The name of the South Korean broadcaster was blurred out on the screen, Yonhap said, adding the North has broadcast rights for World Cup matches under a deal with the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union.

The North's State Stamp Bureau also issued a stamp to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the founding of the International Olympic Committee, depicting modern Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin, KCNA said.

Football is the most popular sport in North Korea, which participated in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa for the first time in 44 years.

Leader Kim Jong-Un has renovated football stadiums and has been spotted at matches around the country.

North Korea often releases stamps bearing images other than that of leader Kim, but stamps marking international political and sports events are rare.

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