Pro football governing body approves conglomerate Eland's proposal

By Shin Ji-hye
  • Published : Aug 22, 2014 - 20:46
  • Updated : Aug 22, 2014 - 20:46

The nation's governing body of professional football on Friday approved a proposal by a local business conglomerate to found a new club for next season.

In its board meeting, the K League gave the green light to Eland to launch a new team to be based in Seoul.    

Eland, which operates about 250 affiliates in retail, apparels and food service, had first declared its intention to get into professional football in April.

Eland will use the Jamsil Olympic Stadium in southern Seoul as its home base, and will start out in the second division K League Challenge in 2015. Eland will join FC Seoul of the top-flight K League Classic in the nation's capital.

There are 10 teams in the second division, and 12 in the first division.

After each season starting in 2014, the worst team from the K League Classic will be automatically relegated to the second division, and the K League Challenge champion will earn an automatic promotion to the first division.

The second-worst K League Classic team will face the second-best K League Challenge club in a playoff. The winner of this match will play in the K League Classic the following year and the loser will end up in the lower-tier league.

Last month, Eland announced the hiring of Martin Rennie, a Scotsman who once managed the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Major League Soccer (MLS), as their first head coach.

Eland once ran a semi-pro football club in South Korea from 1992 to 1998.

Eland officials have previously said they hope to become the biggest draw in South Korean pro football and to earn promotion to the top-tier competition as quickly as possible.

Under the K League rule, Eland must pay up 500 million won (US$491,000) in the K League Challenge entry fee and 50 million won in the annual membership fee by the end of February 2015.

When the club is promoted to the K League Classic, then Eland will have to pay 500 million won in entry fee and 150 million won in the annual membership.

In the rookie draft next year, Eland will get 15 priority picks, a measure to help the new team strengthen its roster at the onset. (Yonhap)