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S. Korean police football club vows to grow with new host city

All Headlines 15:47 January 11, 2017

By Joo Kyung-don

SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean police football club on Wednesday vowed to grow with their new host city as they aim to clinch promotion to the nation's top division for next year.

Mugunghwa FC, run by South Korean police in the second-tier K League Challenge, said they are ready to work with Asan, a city in South Chungcheong Province located some 110km south of Seoul.

"This is the first time that we have had a pro football club in the Chungcheong region," said Asan Mayor Bok Ki-wang at a press conference at the Korea Football Association (KFA) headquarters in Seoul. Bok is also the chairman of the club.

"We want to win the K League Challenge this year and earn promotion to the K League Classic in 2018," he said.

Mugunghwa FC were previously based in Ansan, some 40km west of Seoul, but decided to move to Asan, which has more ties with the police. Asan is home of the Police Training Institute and Korea National Police University.

The club and the city signed a two-year contract last year and confirmed the team's name as Asan Mugunghwa FC.

Bok said the city will consider operating its own football club once Mugunghwa FC bring football fever to the region.

Mugunghwa FC were founded in 1996 with the purpose of helping footballers play the sport while fulfilling their mandatory military duties. They finished first in the K League Challenge last year, but didn't earn the promotion because the league rule states that a club that moves to another city is banned from promotion.

Guided by head coach Song Sun-ho, club officials said they expect to show an even better performance this year.

"We believe that Asan will give its full support for the team," said Suh Beom-soo, the police university chief. "The city has a good football environment."

K League deputy commissioner Huh Jung-moo said the league welcomes the police football club's new start. The league office will provide 500 million won (US$418,000) a year to help Mugunghwa FC settle in a new city as long as they play in the second division.

"What Sangmu FC (military football club) and Mugungwha FC have contributed to South Korean football is immense," Huh said. "Players can serve their national duties, while keeping their form by playing football."

kdon@yna.co.kr
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