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Pro football league to meet with clubs Friday over new kickoff date

All News 11:30 April 22, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, April 22 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean football league will meet with club officials Friday to determine the new kickoff date for the season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Korea Professional Football League, or the K League, said Wednesday that its board meeting with club executives will take place at 2 p.m. Friday at the Korea Football Association (KFA) House in Seoul.

There are 12 teams in the top-flight K League 1 and 10 clubs in the K League 2. Their season was slated to kick off on Feb. 29, but the league postponed it indefinitely five days prior due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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)

But with the recent decline in new cases and the government's easing of social distancing guidelines, the K League has been given a much-needed boost to open its discussions for the new schedule. The league had met with team officials just once since the postponement, and they've agreed in principle to shorten the season from 38 matches to 27 matches.

On Monday, the league allowed teams to schedule practice matches against one another; they'd been restricted to intrasquad scrimmages due to COVID-19 concerns. Then the league announced Tuesday that it is targeting May 9 as the kickoff date, with May 16 being its Plan B. Both are Saturdays, and the league is open to a Friday opening, too.

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.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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