July 24, 2021

South Korea: K League 1 (1st division football) – Location-map, with club profile-boxes and 3 charts: South Korean titles list, Seasons-in-1st-division chart, and a chart showing cities in South Korea with top-flight clubs.

Filed under: Korea: K League — admin @ 12:50 pm
South Korea: K League 1 (1st division football) – Location-map, with titles list, seasons-in-1st-division chart, and chart showing cities in South Kore with top-flight clubs

By Bill Turianski on the 24th of July 2021;
-2021 K League 1 (
-K League 1 [2021] – Summary – fixtures, results, table, stats, etc (

The 2021 season of K League-1 is back from its summer break, with about 25% (or 7 game-weeks) left in the regular season, before the league splits into two (Scottish-style), for the final stage of the season. As of Saturday the 24th of July, Ulsan Hyundai lead the league, 4 points ahead of 3 teams (reigning champions Jeonbuk Motors, Suwon Bluewings, and Daegu FC).

Timeline of South Korean association football
1964 to 1982: only semi-pro or amateur football in South Korea.
1983: K League is founded, originally as the Korean Super League, and is initially comprised of 5 teams: 2 pro/3 semi-pro.
1987: in its 5th season, the league becomes fully professional, and is rebranded as the Korean Professional Football League.
1998: league is rebranded again, as the K League (now with 10 teams).
2003: league expands again, to 12 teams [and remains a 12-team league up to 2021].
2012: Promotion/Relegation system is introduced; 2 teams are relegated from K League 1 that year.
2013: a 2nd level league is instituted, with the creation of K League 2.

2021 is the 39th season of K League football. And 2021 is the 10th season since promotion/relegation was introduced in South Korean football. One or two of the 12 L League-1 clubs are relegated each year, to K League-2.

The implementation of relegation seems to have gone smoothly, but it must be pointed out that there are characteristics of South Korean pro football ownership that have allowed the threat of relegation to be easier dealt with by the clubs. This is because many South Korean pro teams are owned by very large corporations. Like Hyundai Motors [owner of Jeonbuck], Hyundai shipbuilding [owner of Ulsan Tigers], and Hyundai construction [owner of just-relegated Busan IPark]. And like Samsung [owner of Suwon Samsung Bluewings]. And the 3rd-largest South Korean conglomerate SK Group [owner of Jeju United]. And the giant Korean steel manufacturer Pohang (POSCO) [owner of Pohang Steelers].

Meanwhile, a newer trend is towards clubs that are owned by municipal or regional governments. In fact, 6 of the 12 clubs in the K League 1 in 2021 are local-government-owned: high-drawing southern club Daegu FC (drawing 10,700 pre-COVID [2019]), 13-year-old north-eastern club Gangwon FC, 11-year-old south-western club Gwanju FC, north-western port-city club Incheon United (with 17 straight years in K League), and two clubs located in the southern part of the Greater-Seoul/capital-region: Seongnam FC and the newly-promoted Suwon FC.

But it is interesting to note that no local-government-owned team has ever won a K League title. The only local-government-owned club that has won a title is Seongnam FC. But all 7 of Seongnam FC’s domestic titles were won before the Seongnam City Government bought the club, in 2014.

    The 8 title-winning clubs of K League-1 and K League-2 (Jeonbuk Motors, Seongnam FC, FC Seoul, Pohang Steelers, Suwon Bluewings, Busan IPark, Ulsan Hyundai, Jeju United)

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. The most titled club in South Korea is the lime-green-&-black-clad Jeonbuck Hyundai Motors, of the west-central city of Jeonju. Jeonju is in the province of North Jelloa, and is the 16th-largest municipality in South Korea, with a population of around 658,000. Jeonju is located, by road, 134 miles (216 km) S of Seoul. Jeonbuck Motors were established rather late, in the 12th season of the K League, in 1994. And Jeonbuck did not win their first title until 2009. Incredibly, Jeobuck have won all of their 8 titles in the last 13 years, and are currently 4th-times-straight reigning champions. Jeonbuck have also won 2 AFC Champions League titles (in 2006, and in 2016). Pre-COVID [2019], Jeonbuck Hyundai Motors were drawing a solid 13,900 per game (the second-best attendance in the K League, behind only FC Seoul). Jeonbuck play at the 42,000-capacity Jeonju World Cup Stadium {here is an aerial view of the venue}. Jeonbuck Motors have played in 27 of the 39 K League seasons (6th-most).

Seongnam FC. The second-most successful South Korean club is the aforementioned Seongnam FC. Seongnam feature a magpie-type bird on their crest and wear black-with-white-trim. Seongnam is located, by road, 17 miles (25 km) SW of central Seoul. Seongnam is the 12th-largest municipality in South Korea, with about .94 million inhabitants. Seongnam FC were originally Seoul-based, and were called Ilhwa Chunma, and sported a sky-blue/dark-blue crest featuring a winged horse {you can see their original crest in their profile-box on the map-page}. They were champions for 3 straight years from 1993 to ’95. But also in 1995, Ilhwa Chunma were one of three top-flight clubs forced to move out of Seoul, as part of the K League’s Decentralisation Policy. (The Decentralisation Policy was tied to the South Korea’s participation in the 2002 FIFA World Cup co-hosted with Japan, and was a effort to spread the popularity of football to the provinces; {see this}.) So in 1996, the club grudgingly moved 50 miles west of central Seoul, to Cheonam. But this lasted only 6 years, and then in 2001, the club moved again, closer to central Seoul, to Seongnam. As Seongnam Ilhwa Cunma, they immediately had another another run of 3-straight-titles. Their 7th and last title was won in 2006. In 2014 the city council bought the club, and rebranded them as Seongnam FC. But Seongnam FC have seen a drop-off in support, and were only drawing 5,500 pre-COVID [2019]. And currently [24 June 2021], Seongnam FC are in the relegation zone. Seongnam FC have also won 2 AFC Champions League titles (in 1995 and in 2010). Seongnam FC have played in 31 of the 39 K League seasons (4th-most).

FC Seoul. The third-most successful South Korean club is FC Seoul, with 6 titles. The red-and-black-vertically-striped FC Seoul are the highest-drawing Korean football club (at 17,061 per game, pre-COVID [2019]). FC Seoul are owned by the 8th-largest conglomerate in South Korea, GS Group (which is involved in Energy, Retail, Construction, and Sports). FC Seoul were originally owned by Samsung’s big corporate rivals, the LG Group, and were called Lucky-Goldstar FC, joining in the league’s second season in 1984. They wanted to be Seoul-based, but initially they were based south of there, in the west-central part of the country, in Chungcheong Province. 7 years and one title-win later, they did move to Seoul, in 1990, as LG Cheetahs, where they were immediately successful, winning their 2nd title that year. But in 1995, they found out that they were part of the league’s Decentralisation Policy, and were forced to move back out of Seoul. So in 1996, they grudgingly moved to the Seoul suburb of Anyang (13 mi/21 km S of central Seoul), as the Anyang Cheetahs. Their stay in Anyang lasted 8 years, and included one title-win in 2000. After the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the Anyang Cheetahs were the biggest beneficiaries of the infrastructure built for the tournament, because they were the club that got to move into the massive, central and high-profile Seoul World Cup Stadium (capacity 66,700). So the club moved back to Seoul in 2004, and rebranded as FC Seoul. In a 7-year-span from 2010 to ’16, FC Seoul won their last three titles. FC Seoul have no AFC Champions League titles, though (they were finalists in 2002 and 2013). FC Seoul have played in 38 of the 39 K League seasons (co-2nd-most).

Pohang Steelers. The fourth-most successful South Korean club is the red-and-black-horizontally-striped Pohang Steelers, who have won 5 K League titles. But Pohang have not been champions in over 20 years (their last title-win was in 1997). Pohang Steelers are from the east-central port-city of Pohang. Pohang is the 22nd-largest city in South Korea, with a population of around 511,000. The club is owned by POSCO (formerly Pohang Iron and Steel Co., Ltd.), the fourth-largest steel manufacturer in the world, as measured by crude steel output. Pohang play in the cauldron-like Pohang Steel Yards, a compact two-tiered stadium with a capacity of just 17,000 {photos via tripadvisor, here}. Pohang Steelers averaged 8,400-per game pre-COVID [2019], which was slightly above the K League’s overall average attendance of 8,014 that year {see this list}. Though Pohang Steelers have a 23-year-long K League title drought, they have won a major title in that time, winning their 3rd AFC Champions league title, in 2009. The Pohang Steelers have played in all 39 K League seasons (and are the only club to have done so).

Suwon Samsung Bluewings. (The postion of fifth-most successful South Korean club is shared by Suwon Bluewings and Busan IPark, both of whom have won 4 K League titles.) The all-blue-clad Suwon Bluewings are from Suwon, which is located 26 miles (41 km) S of central Seoul. Suwon is the 7th-largest city in South Korea, with around 1.1 million inhabitants. (In 2021, there are two clubs from the city of Suwon that are playing in the K League, the other being the just-promoted Suwon FC.) Suwon Bluewings are owned by Cheil Worldwide, a marketing company that is a subsidiary of the Samsung Group, and the club’s royal blue colour comes from their parent-company. The club was established in 1995, as the 9th K League team. In 1998, in their 3rd season, they won their first K League title, and have won three more titles (their last in 2008). Suwon Bluewings have also won two AFC Champions League titles (in 20001 and 2002). Suwon Bluewings averaged 8,800 pre-COVID [2019], which was 800 per game above the league average of 8,000. Suwon Samsung Bluewings have played in 26 of the 39 K League seasons (7th-most).

Busan IPark. The all-red-clad Busan IPark are co-5th-most-successful South Korean club, with 4 titles. But Busan IPark are currently in the 2nd division (K League 2), and have not won a K League title since 1997. Busan IPark are turning into a yo-yo club, with relegations in 2015 and in 2020. Busan IPark were a founding member of the K League in 1983, as the Daewoo Royals. Busan is the second-largest city in South Korea, with a metro-area population of around 7 million. Busan IPark are owned by HDC (Hyundai Development Company), a conglomerate involved in property, petrochemicals, retail, leisure, sports, and finance, and which is a subsidiary of Hyundai. IPark is the construction branch of Hyundai. Busan IPark were drawing 3,900 in the 2nd division, pre-COVID [2019]. Busan IPark, as Daewoo Royals, won one AFC Champions League title, in the tournament’s first season, in 1985-86.

Ulsan United. The blue-&-dark-blue-vertically-striped Ulsan United have won two K League titles (last in 2005). Ulsan is on the south-east coast between Pohang to the north and Busan to the south. Ulsan is the 8th-largest city in South Korea, with a population of around 1.1 million. Ulsan United are owned by Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilding company. Ulsan draws decent figures, and they drew 4th-best pre-COVID [2019], at 9,600 per game. Ulsan have played in the K League since the 2nd season (1984), and have played in 38 of the 39 K League seasons (co-2nd-most).

Jeju United [including Yukong Elephants]. Jeju United have won one K League title, in 1989, back when they were the Seoul-based Yukong Elephants. Jeju United now play in the smallest top-flight city. Their home of Seogwipo is on Jeju Island, which is located 60 miles off the south-western coast of mainland Korea. Jeju Island is sort of like the Hawaii of South Korea, with a large tourist trade (10 million per year) attracted by the mild climate and beaches. Segwipo has a population of only around 153,000 (and is the 60th-largest city in South Korea). Here is Jeju United’s convoluted history…
1983: Yukong FC, a founding member of the K League.
1989: Yukong Elephants win the K League title.
1996: Yukong FC are forced by the K League to move out of central Seoul (Decentralisation Policy). The club relocated to Bucheon (25 km/14 mi W of central Seoul), but played in Mokdong (on the western edge of Seoul), until a new stadium was built in Bucheon.
1997: club rebranded, as Bucheon SK.
2001: club moved into new stadium in Bucheon, but only played there for 5 years.
2006: club re-located again, this time without coercion from the league, to far southern South Korea, to Segwipo on Jeju Island, and rebranded again, as Jeju United.
Jeju United are owned by the SK Group, South Korea’s 3rd-largest conglomerate (involved in: Energy & Chemicals, Telecommunications, Trading & Services, Semiconductors). Jeju United wear orange, and feature a red-and-orange shield-shaped crest with antlers and a snow-capped volcanic peak – a reference to the nearby Hallasan, the highest point in South Korea (6,388 ft/1847 m). Jeju United averaged 3,700 per game, pre-COVID [2019]. Jeju United have played in 38 of the 39 K League seasons (co-2nd-most), having just bounced straight back from K League-2 last season.

Thanks to all at the following links…
-Blank map of South Korea, by NordNordWest at File:South Korea adm location map.svg (
-Pohang Steelers 2021 home jersey segment, from
-2019 K League attendance, from
-2021 K League 1 (

July 9, 2021

2021 Copa Libertadores: map of Final Stages (16 teams)./+ All of the Round-of-16 stadiums, with club info.

Filed under: Copa Libertadores — admin @ 9:16 pm

2021 Copa Libertadores: map of Final Stages (16 teams)

By Bill Turianski on the 9th of July 2021;
-2021 Copa Libertadores/Final Stages (
-Summary – CONMEBOL Libertadores – Final Stages [2021] (

The Round of 16
The first legs of the 2021 Copa Libertadores Round of 16 will be played from 13 to 15 July {click on the links at the top of this post for the fixtures}.

The breakdown of qualified clubs-by-country…
•Brazil: 6 clubs (Atlético Mineiro, Palmeiras, Flamengo, Fluminense, Internacional, São Paulo). This includes reigning champions Palmeiras.
•Argentina: 6 clubs (Racing, Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Vélez Sarsfield, Defensa y Justicia, River Plate).
•Paraguay: 2 clubs (Cerro Porteño, Olimpia).
•Chile: 1 club (Universidad Católica).
•Ecuador: 1 club (SC Barcelona).

This is the most clubs – 12 clubs – that the Big 2 (Brazil & Argentina) have ever placed into the Round of 16. Last year, Brazil had 6 clubs in the Round of 16, while Argentina had ‘only’ 3 clubs. The previous most-ever-clubs placed by the Big 2 into the Round of 16 was in 2018, with 11 clubs (Brazil 5/Argentina 6).

Paraguay have 2 clubs in the Round of 16 this year: Cerro Porteño, and 3-time-Libertadores champions Club Olimpia.

Ecuador, coming off an impressive 3-clubs-in-the-Round-of-16 last year {2020}, have one club in this year, SC Barcelona of Guayaquil.

Chile have a club into the Round of 16 for the first time since 2018 (Universidad Católica).

For the third straight year, Colombia has underachieved and have placed zero clubs in the Round of 16. Also notable by their absence are any Uruguayan clubs.

There is one club making its Round of 16 debut – Defensa y Justicia, of Florencio Varela, a city of 79,000, located in the far southern suburbs of Greater Buenos Aires.

    Below: 2021 Libertadores Round of 16 venues – all 16 clubs’ stadiums…

#1 seed, Atlético Mineiro – Mineirão, in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Photo credit above – photo by Prefeitura de Belo Horizonte at

#2 seed, Palmeiras – Allianz Parque (aka Palestra Itália), in São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
Image credit above – screenshot from video uploaded by One Man Wolfpack at

#3 seed, Racing Club – Estadio Juan Domingo Perón (aka El Cilindro de Avellaneda), in Avellaneda, Greater Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Photo credit above –[@mdkro] via[@RacingManiacos].

#4 seed, Barcelona SC – Estadio Monumental Isidro Romero Carbo, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Image credit above – screenshot of video uploaded by Christian Merchán at

#5 seed, Flamengo – Maracanã (Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Photo credit above – Johnson Barros at

#6 seed, Argentinos Juniors – Estadio Diego Armando Maradona, in Villa General Mitre, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Image credit above – unattributed at

#7 seed, Fluminense – Maracanã (Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Photo credit above – Getty Images via

#8 seed, Internacional – Estádio Beira-Rio, in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil.
Photo credit above – unattributed at

#9 seed, São Paulo FC – Estádio do Morumbi (Estádio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo), in the Morumbi district of São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
Photo credit above – Morumbi Tour/ Divulgação via

#10 seed, Boca Juniors – La Bombonera (‘the Chocolate Box’), in La Boca district of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Photo credit above – unattributed at[@ftblsm].

#11 seed, Vélez Sarsfield – Estadio José Amalfitani, in Liniers district of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Photo credit above –


#12 seed, Cerro Porteño – Estadio General Pablo Rojas (aka La Nueva Olla), in Asunción, Paraguay.
Photo credit above – unattributed at[@sc_espn].

#13 seed, Defensa y Justicia – Estadio Norberto “Tito” Tomaghello, in Florencio Varela [in Greater Buenos Aires], Buenos Aires province, Argentina.
Image credit above – screenshot from video uploaded by Tirando DATA con Walter Queijeiro at

#14 seed, River Plate – El Monumental (Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti), in the Belgrano district of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Photo credit above –

#15 seed, Universidad Católica – Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo
Photo credit above – unattributed at

#16 seed, Club Olimpia – Estadio Manuel Ferreira, in barrio Mariscal López in Asunción, Paraguay.
Image credit above – unattributed at

Thanks to all at the links below…
-Globe-map of South America by Luan at File:South America (orthographic projection).svg ([South America]).
-Blank map of South America by Anbans 585 at File:CONMEBOL laea location map without rivers.svg ([2018 Copa Libertadores]).
-2020 Copa Libertadores (
-Copa Libertadores 1960-2019 Club Histories (
-Libertadores titles list {}.

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