North Korean Star Heads To South Korea's Top Tier; K League Debuts New Name, Logo
North Korean footballer Jong Tae-se, who has been on the national team for the past six years, "has agreed to play" for K League club Suwon Bluewings in South Korea, according to Moon Gwang-lip of the KOREA JOONGANG DAILY. He will transfer from Germany's 2nd Bundesliga club 1. FC Koln. His move marks "the first time a North Korean player of this caliber will play" in its southern neighbor, although several other footballers with North Korean citizenship have competed in the K League. Bluewings GM Lee Ho-seung revealed that the transfer fee is €300,000 ($394,410). The two sides "plan to sign the agreement this weekend" (KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, 1/4). YONHAP noted Jong's salary "is reportedly around 400M won ($376,000)." Jong "first expressed his interest in the K League in November." Officials of Suwon and Ulsan Hyundai Tigers said that Jong's agent contacted them at that time "with an eye on the '13 season" (YONHAP, 1/3). Lee said, "We've reached an agreement with Koln to transfer Jong to us. Jong will arrive here as early as next Monday for a medical test. If he passes the test, we will sign a contract with him" (AFP, 1/3).
A NEW YEAR: YONHAP also reported the K League unveiled "new names for its two divisions for the upcoming season, along with a new logo based on the colors of the country's flag." The first division will be called the K League Classic, while the second tier will be called the K League. The K League had previously been hyphenated (YONHAP, 1/3).