Seoul satellite city trying to land pro football club at new stadium

Du Ri Jang, May 8, 2017, 9:42 a.m.

A satellite city of Seoul is trying to land a professional football club at a brand new stadium scheduled to open this fall, its officials said Saturday. Yongin, located some 50 kilometers south of the capital in Gyeonggi Province, is building a 37,000-seat multi-purpose stadium as part of its new municipal sports park, set for completion in November.

And according to city officials, Mayor Jung Chan-min recently ordered his staff to look into the feasibility of hosting a pro football team as the new stadium's main tenant.

"We have the conditions to bring in a pro club," one official said. "And we hope to make the best use of the new stadium and create a buzz for football."

The official noted that other Gyeonggi Provincial cities of similar size as Yongin, Suwon and Seongnam, already have football teams.

Suwon actually is home to two clubs: Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the top-flight K League Classic, and Suwon FC in the second-tier K League Challenge. Seongnam has Seongnam FC, a once-proud franchise that has fallen on hard times as the worst team in the K League Challenge this year.

Yongin, with about 1 million in population, has apparently contacted several existing clubs about possible relocation.

The K League Classic has 12 clubs and the Challenge has 10. The worst team from the top division is automatically relegated to the lower competition the following season, while the second-to-last club must survive a relegation playoff.

Yongin founded a third-division club in 2010 but it folded in January this year, citing hefty operating costs.

The city is home to 15 elementary, middle and high school teams and 82 amateur clubs. Yongin currently has one professional sports team, Samsung Life Blue Minx in the Women's Korean Basketball League.

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