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S. Korean city Cheongju to launch new pro football club

All Headlines 16:32 October 04, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) – The South Korean city of Cheongju will launch a new pro football club, expanding the number of teams in the country's pro football league to 25.

The K League, the country's professional football league governing body, said Tuesday that Cheongju, some 140 km south of Seoul, submitted its application for a new pro football club. The name of the team has not been determined yet.

Under the league rule, the K League board of directors has to decide within 60 days whether it should accept Cheongju's proposal. The city will officially have a new pro club once the league's general assembly approves its application.

Cheongju, the capital of North Chungcheong Province, previously had two amateur football clubs -- Cheongju FC and Cheongju City FC -- that participated in the K3 League, the fourth-tier league where top amateur clubs compete. The two clubs last week decided to merge.

Cheongju's pro football club will make their debut in the second-division K League Challenge next year if they get approval. There are currently 12 clubs in the top-flight K League Classic and 11 teams in the K League Challenge.

Cheongju follows Ansan, which in July announced its plan to assemble the 24th pro football club next year.

Ansan, some 40 km west of Seoul, is currently home to Mugunghwa FC, a second-tier club run by the South Korean police force to help footballers play the sport while fulfilling their mandatory military duties. In 2013, the city signed a three-year contract with Mugunghwa FC to become their host, but the two sides recently didn't renew the deal after the club decided to move to Asan, home of the Police Training Institute and Korea National Police University in South Chungcheong Province, next year.

Asan, some 100 km south of Seoul, will also host a K League club for the first time.

The police sports club currently leads the K League Challenge with 64 points after collecting 19 wins, seven draws and nine losses. The winner of the Challenge earns a promotion to the Classic the following season, while the next three teams enter the promotional playoffs.

The league office, however, recently decided that Mugunghwa FC will not earn a promotion even if they win the Challenge, following the change of host city.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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