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(LEAD) S. Korean city Cheongju plans to have new pro football club

All Headlines 18:56 October 04, 2016

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; RECASTS throughout)

SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean city of Cheongju plans to have a new pro football club, the country's football league governing body said Tuesday.

The K League said that Cheongju, some 140 km south of Seoul, and the Cheongju FC cooperative union cosubmitted their application for a new pro football club. The name of the team has not yet been determined.

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 and establish a union.

The municipal government of Cheongju, however, refuted later Tuesday that it didn't agree with the union to launch a new pro football club. The municipal government claimed that it didn't know that the union had filed documents with the league office, signaling that there will be a dispute between two sides over having a pro football club in the city.

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 will follow Ansan, which in July announced its plan to assemble the 24th pro football club next year, if its application gets a green light.

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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