By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top professional baseball league on Friday pressured the home city of an expansion club to carry out its pledge to build a new stadium by 2016, warning that the team could be relocated elsewhere if the promise is not kept.
In a statement, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) asked the city of Changwon, about 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul, to quickly select the site on which a ballpark for the NC Dinos will be built.
The Dinos will join the KBO as the ninth team, the league's first expansion club since 1991.
When the KBO approved of the Dinos' membership in March 2011, Changwon promised to build a new ballpark with at least 25,000 seats within five years. Until the new stadium is built, the Dinos will play their home games at a recently-renovated stadium in nearby Masan which can seat 20,000.
According to the KBO, Changwon officials have assured it on four different occasions, mostly recently on Sept. 1, 2012, that they will duly carry out their plan to build the stadium.
However, recent media reports have suggested Changwon may not be able to meet the March 2016 deadline for the stadium and that the land the city is about to designate for the ballpark may not be accessible for the fans.
Changwon has also been slow in its selection of the site for the stadium, prompting the KBO to worry about its intentions.
"If we determine that Changwon can't carry out its pledge to build a new stadium or if the proposed site can be detrimental to the interest and development of professional baseball, we will take strong measures," the KBO said. "That will include relocating the Dinos to a different city."
The league said it asked Changwon to provide clear reasons for its selection of the stadium site and to guarantee in writing that it will complete the ballpark by the deadline.
The KBO asked Changwon to answer the questions before making any public announcement on its stadium plan.
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