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The History of the K league
The K League is Korea Republic’s top division soccer league for men which was formed 37 years ago in the year 1983. The league is very popular in Asia, a continent which also has the popular Japanese and Chinese leagues which are also attracting world attention in the past years. The rise of the K League has seen the league partner with giant satellite pay-TV company SkySports which will start to broadcast K League matches, other big pay-television broadcaster JTBC and IB Sports will also broadcast the matches from this league to the whole world.
Critical to the rise of the K League was the fact that the league has a lot of foreign players from all over the world in Europe, America and even Africa but the League must try to emulate what the Chinese league are doing because they are not just going for unknown foreign players , rather they are spending huge amounts of money luring world-class footballers to their league. The Chinese league has heavily invested in foreign players, a move which has seen soccer icons like Didier Drogba, Gervinho, Asamoah Gyan, Marko Anautovic, Yannick Carrasco and Oscar amongst other great players to play in China and this move enabled the whole world to pay serious attention to the Chinese league. The same strategy was also employed by the Major League Soccer (MLS) where soccer icons like David Beckham, David Villa, Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahomovic amongst other top players also played in this league.
Since the league was formed in 1983 as the Korean Super League, it has evolved to be what it is today because the league started as a five team league and these five teams were Hallelujah FC, Yukong Elephants, POSCO Dolphins, Daewoo Royals and Kookmin Bank FC, two of this pioneer clubs namely Hallelujah FC and Kookmin Bank FC are now defunct but the other three are still there. The league was then reformed in 1998 and that is when it was renamed the K League and it was later renamed as the K LLeague 1 as we know it today and the number of teams which form the league has risen from five up to 12 teams. Currently the teams which from the K League 1 are;
Korea K League 1 League Structure
It took time for Korean soccer to be as organised as it is today because unlike organised countries like England which has 4 professional leagues which operates on a system of relegation and promotion, the Korean league had no official system of promotion and relegation but this has since changed and Korea is now host to three leagues namely K League 1, K League 2, and the National League in that order and this has made the K League 1 very competitive as no team wants to be relegated from the top tier league because relagation has some serious financial implications.
K League 1 Duration
The K League 1 is played for 10 months in the same year from early March and it runs until late November and the league use the round robin format where each of the twelve teams will face each other home and away and at the end of the season, the K League champions, runners-up, and third-placed team will all gain entry into the AFC Champions League for the following season. The 12th placed at the end of the season will be automatically relegated and replaced with the K League 2 champions whilst the 11th placed team will have to fight it out in the play-offs against the winner of the K League 2 promotion playoffs in order to preserve their K League 1 status. Sangju Sangmu is immune to relegation by virtue of being a military team.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors is the ‘Barcelona’ of Korean football because they have completely dominated Korean club football for the past decade, winning six league titles in the past ten years and winning it for three years running since the year 2017 and it is very likely that they will retain their title again this year. The teams which are also expected to be serious title contenders are FC Seoul, Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Jeju United and all these teams have the potential to compete for the title which has since been monopolised by Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and this great team has fared very well in continental competitions, winning the 2016 AFC Champions league which enabled them to participate in the World Club World Cup in a tournament that featured the mighty Real Madrid. Gyeongnam FC, Jeju United and Ulsan Hyundai finished as runners up in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons respectively.
The K League should have started in March but that was not possible because of the corona virus pandemic but the league will now resume this month on the 8th of May and the live matches will be bradcasted by skySports, IB Sports, and Life and Sports TV.