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Pro football league looking to kick off season in May

All News 16:24 April 21, 2020

SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean pro football league said Tuesday its new season, delayed by nearly two months due to the coronavirus outbreak, will begin sometime in May.

The Korea Professional Football League (K League) said its first option is to kick off the 2020 season on May 9, with May 16 being its Plan B. The league is also considering starting things off on a Friday. In all scenarios, the season will begin without fans.

The new season for the top-flight K League 1 was to have begun on Feb. 29, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the league to postpone the season five days prior to that day.

This file photo provided by the Korea Professional Football League on April 2, 2020, shows a K League 1 match for Suwon Samsung Bluewings underway at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, 45 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

It had been unable to settle on even a rough timetable for the new season, though teams have agreed in principle to reduce the season from 38 matches to about 27 matches.

The K League got a boost from the government on Sunday, when it eased social distancing regulations and allowed outdoor sports games to be played with proper safety measures in place, including keeping fans out of the seats.

Late Monday, the K League lifted its ban on exhibition games, and teams will now be able to face one another to prepare for the season. Since March 17, they'd been limited to intrasquad games.

In a normal, 38-game season, the 12 K League 1 teams first play 33 matches, and then are divided into two groups, Final A and Final B. Then they play five more matches within their groups.

In a 27-match season, the first phase will feature 22 matches, with five additional matches for teams in Final A and Final B.

This image provided by the Korea Professional Football League on April 7, 2020, shows the league's emblem promoting the use of masks and social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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