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Korean football leagues go through massive changes in the 2020 season

Korean football leagues go through massive changes in the 2020 season

The Korean Football Association has decided to reallocate the country’s football league system into seven tiers in the 2020 season.

The seven-tier system ranges from the professional level down to amateur. The two professional leagues are still K League 1 and K League 2, whereas the top tier K League 1 has one relegation spot and one relegation play-off spot in accordance with K League 2’s one direct promotion slot and one indirect slot which will have to win the play-off to get promoted.

The 2020 K-League 1 has 12 clubs with the reigning champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and two newly promoted clubs from the K League 2: Gwangju FC and Busan Ipark.

Lower than K League 1 and 2 are two semi-professional leagues: K3 League and K4 League. 16 teams will compete in the K3 League and 13 is the number of the K4 League. There will be two direct along with one indirect (via play-off match) promotion and relegation spots in each league. However, the clubs in K3 League cannot be promoted to K League 2 and the ones in K4 League will not be relegated to the amateur leagues.

In fact, the K3 League is merged from the former 3rd tier Korea National League and 4th tier K3 League Advanced, whilst the K3 League Basic was replaced by K4 League.

Moving down to the bottom of the Korean football league system are regional leagues at the amateur level: K5, K6 and K7 League. K5 League is the top league in this section, which is consisted of 11 smaller regional leagues, each has six clubs, excluding the Gwangju/Jeollanam-do region with 7.

The champions of each region will go through to the Korean FA Cup and the club ranking last will be relegated.

The drastic changes are expected to bring more uniform and professionalism to the Korean football.