Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Current member clubs|
|Suwon Samsung Bluewings|
|Two sections of 12 matches each.
Both section winners join the two teams with the best overall record in an end-of-season Championship playoff.
The Korea Professional Soccer League, more commonly known today as the K-League was founded in 1983 with five member clubs, and is the oldest professional football league in Asia. The five clubs were Hallelujah, Daewoo, POSCO, Yukong Elephants and Kookmin Bank. Hallelujah won the inaugural title, finishing one point ahead of Daewoo to lift the crown.
Since 1983 the league has expanded from the initial five teams to thirteen teams for the 2004 season. Of the five initial clubs, only Daewoo, POSCO and Yukong Elephants remain in the K-League; Kookmin Bank FC dropped out of the league at the end of 1984, and Hallelujah followed the season after.
Most of the member clubs in the league are owned by major Korean Chaebols, and the club names reflect that fact. Teams have adopted local city names in an effort to integrate themselves more with the local communities; for example, Daewoo evolved over the years into Daewoo Royals, Busan Daewoo Royals and latterly Busan I'cons. The Lucky Goldstar (LG) corporation caused a huge controversy at the end of 2003 when they made the decision to uproot their Anyang LG Cheetahs team from the Seoul satellite city of Anyang and move into the empty Seoul World Cup stadium, becoming FC Seoul.
Korean football league structure
At present there is only one professional league in Korea, the K-League, and it contains thirteen member clubs. It is a closed league with no promotion and relegation. Below the level of the K-League there is the K2 League, a closed semi-professional/amateur league with ten members, established in 2003.
Plans are afoot for promotion and relegation between the K-League and K2 to be introduced in time for the 2007 season, with a rumoured K3 division sometime in the future.
The League Season
The K-League season typically begins around March/April and runs to late November each year. The amount of games, clubs and the systems used have varied through the years, but for 2004 the league has instigated a two-part season with championship play-offs at the end of the year.
The thirteen member clubs play each other once in the first and second stages, giving a total of 24 matches. The winners of both stages advance to the championship play-offs, together with the two teams holding the best overall record from the combined stages. The winner of the play-off tournament (two semi-finals at a neutral venue followed up by a home and away final) will be declared league Champion.
The K-League champions gain entry to the Asian Champions League the following season.
Pohang Steelers won the first stage of the K-League and guaranteed their slot in the end-of-season Championship playoff. The second stage was won by Suwon Samsung Bluewings, with Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i and Chunnam Dragons joining them in the playoffs. Suwon defeated Chunnam 1-0 and Pohang defeated Ulsan by the same scoreline, so the two stage winners faced each other in the two-legged Championship final. Both ties ended 0-0, and after extra time at the Suwon stadium the game went to penalties, where Suwon emerged victorious 4-3 to pick up the K-League title.
Ilhwa Chunma are the most successful team in terms of championship victories, having lifted the title on no less than six occasions. The roll-call of champions is as follows (present-date names included where teams have changed names previously):
- Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma: 1993, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2002, 2003
- Busan I'cons: 1984, 1987, 1991, 1997
- FC Seoul: 1985, 1990, 2000
- Pohang Steelers: 1986, 1988, 1992
- Suwon Samsung Bluewings: 1998, 1999, 2004
- Hallelujah: 1983
- Bucheon SK: 1989
- Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i: 1996
All-time K-League member clubs
There have been a total of 17 member clubs in the history of the K-League - those clubs are listed below with their current names (where applicable):
- Hallelujah (1983-1985)
- Busan I'cons (1983-present)
- Bucheon SK (1983-present)
- Pohang Steelers (1983-present)
- Kookmin Bank FC (1983-1984)
- FC Seoul (1984-present)
- Hanil Bank (1984-1986)
- Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i (1984-present)
- Gwangju Sangmu Phoenix (1985; 2003-present)
- Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma (1989-present)
- Chonbuk Buffalo (1994)
- Cheonbuk Hyundai Motors (1995-present)
- Chunnam Dragons (1995-present)
- Suwon Samsung Bluewings (1996-present)
- Daejeon Citizen (1997-present)
- Daegu FC (2003-present)
- Incheon United (2004-present)
- Ahn Jung-Hwan - formerly of Busan I'cons.
- Lee Young-Pyo - formerly of Anyang LG Cheetahs.
- Alpay Özalan - formerly of Incheon United.
- Jamie Cureton - formerly of Busan I'cons.
- Sasa Drakulic - formerly of Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Busan I'cons.
- Hong Myung-Bo - formerly of Pohang Steelers.
- Lee Chun-Soo - formerly of Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i
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