Korean Professional Football Introduces Promotion-Relegation System
A promotion-relegation system "will be introduced this year for the first time in the 30 years of Korean professional football," according to Do Je-hae of the KOREA TIMES. For the first time, there will be two divisions: the K League Classic consisting of the top 14 teams from '12 "and the second-tier K League consisting of six sides." The bottom two clubs at the end of the season "will drop down to the second division." Furthermore, the K League Classic "will split into two" based on teams’ records after 26 games. The clubs "will then each play 12 more games within their group to determine the final standings." This new system "faced opposition from struggling, community-owned clubs like Incheon United, Gyeongnam FC, Gwangju FC and Daejeon Citizen." However, it is "widely expected to upgrade Korean football and help eliminate irregularities like a major match-fixing scandal" that saw nearly 60 players and coaches indicted on charges of match-rigging in '11. The K League Classic will begin its inaugural season Saturday, with '12 champions FC Seoul hosting the reigning FA Cup winners Pohang Steelers "in the first of the three matches on the opening day to be broadcast live by KBS1" (KOREA TIMES, 2/27).