North Korea's head coach, Yun Jong Su, made some interesting comments after the completion of Group 5 World Cup qualifying in Dubai recently.
Basically, Yun said he would like to see a unified Korean team enter the 2006 World Cup in Germany if both North and South qualified.
The draw for the final round of qualifying takes place in Kuala Lumpur on December 9th, when Japan and the two Koreas will be among eight teams.
For the time being, as Yun pointed out, North and South Korea are two separate teams, and must qualify in their own right.
If they both do qualify for Germany, is a joint team possible?
I don't see why not, as FIFA president Sepp Blatter would view the idea as the perfect way for football to build bridges when everything else fails.
The bottom line is, Asia has been given 4.5 places in the 32-team field for Germany.
This means the winners and runners-up of the two four-team groups next year will qualify automatically for Germany.
The two third-placed teams will play off for the right to meet a representative from the CONCACAF region for the last spot in the World Cup. This is what FIFA means by half a place: half for Asia, half for CONCACAF.
How Asian officials fill their 4.5 places is up to them, I suppose, just so long as they provide a team to play against CONCACAF.
If the two Koreas are in the same group and finish first and second, and a unified team is accepted by AFC and FIFA, then the third-placed team in that group could also qualify automatically.
This would leave the last-placed team to meet the third-placed team from the other group in the playoff.
The biggest problem, of course, would be time.
The two Koreas, and administrators, would have to work very quickly to produce a unified team.
They could not delay and delay like they did over South Korea's offer to North Korea to stage some first-round matches at the 2002 World Cup.
On that occasion, the North did not respond, so the plan was dropped.
This unified Korean team for Germany, however, is an idea from the North--not yet official, just from the head coach--to which the South has reacted positively.
It is an interesting concept, and one which will have administrators scratching their heads for the next few months.
There is a lot of football to be played before then, though.
First, the two Koreas must qualify independently through the official system described above.
Only then does it become an issue, but I feel AFC and FIFA would try as hard as possible to make it work.