The professional soccer K-League celebrated the 40th anniversary of ‘Immortality’. The K-League, which started with five teams in 1983, the first year of its launch, and has undergone several evolutions, has transformed into a huge market with 25 clubs in the 1st and 2nd divisions in 2023. It is also the league that won the most championships (10 times) in the Asian Champions League. The K-League’s external competitiveness in terms of numbers continues to develop. However, in the still poor football industry environment, corporate clubs are gradually reducing the scale of investment, and city and village clubs are becoming political scapegoats. There are also many teams with poor crowd mobilization, so they couldn’t completely get out of their ‘league of their own’. Sports Seoul aims to examine the reality of the K-League, which has turned 40, over four episodes, and to include suggestions for securing future competitiveness.
The age of records, the more it is shared, the more meaningful it is.메이저놀이터
Sports and records are inextricably linked. Football cannot be called a ‘record sport’, but it is certain that records show the history of the sport and represent a player’s professional life. As such, the meaning contained in one record is large and wide. This is why the importance of records comes to the fore.
In the K-League, which has stepped on the 40th anniversary notice, the Korean Professional Football Federation’s record notation remains regrettable. The federation organizes and records each player’s number of appearances, goals, and assists by season. On the federation press site, the records of the first and second divisions before and after the promotion and relegation were marked separately, but it is hoped that one player’s meaningful ‘record’, such as the 20 (goal)-20 (assisted) club and total goals, will be left behind. Sometimes I don’t differentiate between part 1 and part 2.
The K-League introduced a promotion and relegation system for the first time in 2013. Although 10 years have passed since the separation of Part 1 and Part 2, the records of Part 1 and Part 2 are combined and tallied. A representative example is Yeom Ki-hun (Suwon Samsung) joining the 80-80 Club. Yeom Ki-hoon is recording 77 goals and 110 assists in 442 K-League games, and if he adds 3 goals, he will join the K-League’s first 80-80 club. However, it is a figure that includes 7 goals and 11 assists as a member of the 2nd Division Police Agency in 2013, not a complete 1st division record.
The same is true for all-time appearances. Last year, Kim Yeong-kwang (Seongnam FC) played 93 games and took second place (588 times), surpassing Lee Dong-guk (548 times, retired). However, Kim Young-kwang has played 183 games in the second division. Records are valuable because they are rare, but voices of regret follow the objectivity of the current federation’s criteria for calculating records.
It is true that it is within the boundary of ‘professional football’, but the first and second parts are distinctly different. Part 1 is the ‘top league’ of a country. Part 1 and Part 2, of course, have different goals and orientations. Many big leagues, such as the English Premier League (EPL), also set records for the first and second divisions separately.
An official from Team A said, “It is impossible to give a clear answer as to which is good and which is bad, but what is certain is that records must be dualized. If it is subdivided into Division 1, Division 2, and career, it is likely to look at the player based on a clearer record. Based on the detailed record, I think the club will also use it in various ways as a marketing element, such as accurately informing fans.”
Of course, there are opposing voices. An official from Team B said, “Parts 1 and 2 belong together in the boundary called ‘professional’. Dividing the records separately is literally trying to polarize, but it is a part that I cannot understand,” he said. However, many league members agree that it is impossible to compare the value of a player’s sweat whether it is in Part 1 or Part 2, but in order to make meaningful things more meaningful, a distinction should be made between Part 1 and Part 2 records.
If you look at the K-League Hall of Fame, which was newly established by the federation this year, you can understand the meaning more easily. The Hall of Fame consists of three categories: players, leaders, and contributors. Candidates for the player category are based on the K-League top league (K League before the promotion and relegation and first division after the promotion and relegation) ▲ Appeared in 300 or more games ▲ Scored 100 or more goals ▲ Achieved 100 or more clean sheets ▲ Most goals or most assists in the season ▲ Season Must meet at least one of the Best Eleven Award ▲Season MVP Award. You can feel that the ‘honor’ of the award goes up a little more in that it is based on part 1 of ‘only’ rather than part 2.
The federation is also aware of the unified record problem. The person in charge of the record said, “We are aware of the problem (regarding the integrated record) and are reviewing whether to improve it. We are in a situation where we are thinking about how to proceed by listening to and collecting the opinions of various stakeholders.”