KFA to Implement Single Promotion-Relegation System in Korean Football

The KFA announces single promotion-relegation system for Korean football ecosystem starting in 2027

The Korean Football Association (KFA) is set to revolutionize the football ecosystem in South Korea by implementing a single promotion-relegation system, facilitating the prospect for a club to ascend from the amateur K7 league all the way to the top-tier K League 1. This groundbreaking move will merge the current disjointed promotion-relegation structures within Korean football into a unified system, slated to take effect from 2027.

Presently, promotion and relegation dynamics only operate within the same level of leagues in Korea, distinguishing between professional, semi-professional, and amateur tiers. For instance, while the K League 1 and K League 2 are categorized as professional leagues, the K3 and K4 belong to the semi-professional stratum, with the K5, K6, and K7 designated as amateur leagues.

The amended regulations will now allow a K3 outfit to elevate to the professional ranks of the K League 2 by achieving glory in the third division and fulfilling specific criteria concerning facilities, youth development setup, and organizational capacity laid out by the K League licensing prerequisites. Consequently, should a K3 side meet all stipulations, it will ascend to the K League 2, resulting in the relegation of the bottom-placed team in the second tier. Conversely, if the K3 winner falls short of satisfying the requirements, it will remain in the K3 league, with no demotion for any K League 2 team.

Moreover, within the K5 league, the top two finishers from the preceding season meeting certain criteria will progress to the K4, with no relegation initially enforced on the corresponding K4 outfits. The KFA justified this suspension of relegation for K4 teams by considering factors such as expanding the number of K4 teams and recognizing the amateur status of clubs in the K5 division.

This strategic overhaul of the promotion-relegation mechanism by the KFA marks a progressive step towards enhancing competitiveness and fostering growth within the Korean football landscape, ultimately offering aspiring clubs a clearer pathway to ascend the football pyramid. Moving forward, the unified system promises to ignite fervor and provide a leveled playing field for clubs across all tiers, bolstering the nation’s footballing infrastructure and talent development.

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