As previously mentioned, Heechul commented that idols don't really have much of a choice when it comes to participating in the event since if they refuse to attend, they might end up putting themselves into a case where they may not be on good terms with the broadcast station. Thereby hinting that this may lead those idol groups to suffer disadvantages on shows like the broadcast station's music programs.
An MBC rep responded on the 27th, "We heard about Heechul's comments on JTBC's 'Ssul Jeon'. Expressing diverse thoughts like that is one of the special traits of 'Ssul Jeon', so we don't think it's something to read into."
"It seems like rumors about idol groups suffering disadvantages on MBC's music programs if they don't appear on 'Idol Star Athletics Championship' have been raised a few times. However, in reality, even in this year's filming there were several cases of idol groups that couldn't make the filming because of their schedules," the rep added, revealing that idols are not forced or threatened to film for the show.
When asked if there is another holiday special 'Idol Star Athletics Championship' planned for this year, another rep commented, "Since the response to this past Chuseok special was good, we are thinking towards the direction of doing one... However, as there is still some time left, we'll have to discuss it when it gets closer to the date."