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S. Korean city Ansan to launch new pro football club

2016/07/22 15:10

SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korean city Ansan will launch a new pro football club, expanding the number of teams in the country's pro football league to 24, officials said Friday.

In addition, an existing football team based in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, will relocate to Asan, South Chungcheong Province.

Ansan Mayor Je Jong-geel on Friday submitted the city's application to the K league, the country's governing body of professional football league, for a new pro football club. The name of the team has not been determined yet.

The expansion team will likely make their debut in the second-division K League Challenge next year. There are currently 12 clubs in the top-flight K League Classic and 11 teams in the K League Challenge.

Ansan will be the 11th city operating a K League club, joining other municipal governments like Daegu, Incheon, Daejeon and Seongnam.

Ansan, some 40km west of Seoul, is currently home to Mugunghwa FC, a second-tier club run by South Korean police to help footballers play the sport while fulfilling their mandatory military duties. In 2013, the city signed a three-year contract with Mugunghwa FC to become their host, but the two sides recently decided not to renew the deal after the club planned a move to Asan, home of the Police Training Institute and Korea National Police University.

It will be the first time for Asan, some 100 km south of Seoul, to have a K League club. Asan Mayor Bok Ki-wang also on Friday filed documents with the K League to accommodate Mugunghwa FC.

The police sports club currently leads the K League Challenge with 43 points after collecting 13 wins, four draws and four losses. The winner of the Challenge earns a promotion to the Classic next season, while second to fourth-placed teams enter the promotional playoffs.

Ansan Mayor Je Jong-geel (R), K League deputy commissioner Huh Jung-moo (C), and Asan Mayor Bok Ki-wang pose for a photo at the Korea Football Association headquarters in Seoul on July 22, 2016. Ansan and Asan submitted documents to launch new pro football clubs in their respective cities. (Yonhap) Ansan Mayor Je Jong-geel (R), K League deputy commissioner Huh Jung-moo (C), and Asan Mayor Bok Ki-wang pose for a photo at the Korea Football Association headquarters in Seoul on July 22, 2016. Ansan and Asan submitted documents to launch new pro football clubs in their respective cities. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr

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