Korea National League

Korea National League
Korea National League
Countries South Korea Korea Republic
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Founded 2003
(1964 as Korea Football League)
Number of teams 14
Levels on pyramid 2
Promotion to K-League (no promotion)
Relegation to Challengers League (no relegation)
Domestic cup(s) Korean FA Cup
League cup(s) Korea National League Championship
Current champions Ulsan Mipo Dockyard
Website http://www.n-league.org
2011 Korea National League
Korea National League
Hangul 내셔널 리그
Revised Romanization Naesyeneol rigeu
McCune–Reischauer Naesyŏnŏl rigŭ

The Korea National League is a semi-professional association football league, the second tier of the South Korean football league system. It consists of fifteen member clubs. The season is composed of two sections with the fourteen member clubs playing each other once in each section. The two section winners and the two runners-up from both stages progress to the post-season season playoffs to decide the league champion. In the event of the same team winning both sections, that team is pronounced champion without the need for the playoffs.



The league was officially founded in 2003 as the K2 League, to raise the level of competition in Korea. Prior to that, various cup competitions were run by the governing body of semi-professional football. Competitions under the present body can be traced back to 1964, with the participants being mostly works sides of the major industries in Korea (banks, construction companies and the like). It was rebranded Korea National League at the beginning of 2006.

It had operated with a two stage season since its inception, with the two stage winners meeting in a two-legged championship playoff final at the end of the season before changing to a four team playoff in 2008. Kookmin Bank won the 2003 championship, and successfully defended their title in 2004. Incheon Korail claimed the title in 2005 before Kookmin Bank won it for a third time in 2006. Ulsan Mipo Dockyard won the championship in 2007.

On December 18, 2009, The league approved to join 2 clubs, Mokpo City FC & Yongin City FC, from the 2010 season.

Promotion issue

Ever since the creation of the league, hopes had been high that a system of promotion and relegation would be implemented between the league and the K-League, the professional football league in Korea. In 2006, it was agreed that, subject to meeting certain financial requirements, the National League champions would be eligible for promotion. Goyang Kookmin Bank, who triumphed over Gimpo Hallelujah to win the 2006 title, were the first side eligible for promotion, however they controversially rejected the chance to return to the professional ranks.

The team received several threats from the National League ranging from being thrown out of the competition, to fines, to point deductions for the upcoming 2007 season. In the end the side received a points deduction penalty, to be split into ten point deductions in the first and second stages of the 2007 season.

Following the case involving Goyang, teams in the National League signed agreements indicating whether or not they would seek promotion to the K-League if they win the National League in 2007. Ulsan Mipo Dockyard, who won the championship in 2007, also rejected the chance to move up to the K-League despite previously indicating they would seek promotion.

In light of the issues surrounding the conditional promotion place in 2006 and 2007, the National League decided to end the system prior to the 2008 season.

On November 2, new commissioner, Kwon Oh-Gab, announced to push implementing a promotion system with K-league within 3 years.

Members for 2011 season

Korea National League is located in South Korea
Location of teams in 2011 Korea National League

The following 14 clubs will compete in the Korea National League during the 2011 season.

All-time Member Clubs

There have been a total of 16 member clubs since the league was founded as the K2 League in 2003. Seoul City replaced Hallelujah for the second stage of the 2003 season after protests by radical Wonbuddhists forced the Christian club out of Iksan. Hallelujah returned to the league in 2004 after moving to Gimpo. Sangmu B withdrew their team from the league at the end of 2005 in order for the team, essentially the reserve side of K-League team Gwangju Sangmu Phoenix, to compete in the K-League reserve league. From 2010 season, Nowon Hummel FC moved to Chungju city in Chungbuk province & the name changed to Chungju Hummel FC.

Teams are listed with present-day names in the case of sides that have changed names or locations previously:

Club Duration City
Ansan Hallelujah FC 2003 First Stage, 2004–Present Ansan, Gyeonggi
Daejeon Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power FC 2003–Present Daejeon Metropolitan City
Gangneung City FC 2003–Present Gangneung, Gangwon
Goyang Kookmin Bank FC 2003–Present Goyang, Gyeonggi
Incheon Korail FC 2003–Present Incheon Metropolitan City
Chungju Hummel FC 2003–Present Chungju, Chungbuk
Sangmu B 2003-2005 Icheon, Gyeonggi
Suwon City FC 2003–Present Suwon, Gyeonggi
Ulsan Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Dolphin 2003–Present Ulsan Metropolitan City
Yesan FC 2003–2010 Yesan, Chungnam
Seoul City FC 2003 Second Stage Seoul Metropolitan City
Changwon City FC 2005–Present Changwon, Gyeongnam
Busan Transportation Corporation FC 2006–Present Busan Metropolitan City
Hongcheon Idu FC 2007–09 First Stage Hongcheon, Gangwon
Cheonan City FC 2008–Present Cheonan, Chungnam
Gimhae City FC 2008–Present Gimhae, Gyeongnam
Mokpo City FC 2010–Present Mokpo, Jeonnam
Yongin City FC 2010–Present Yongin, Gyeonggi

Defunct former clubs

Previous winners

Titles By Season

Goyang Kookmin Bank FC Sangmu B
Goyang Kookmin Bank FC Gangneung City FC
Incheon Korail FC Suwon City FC
Goyang Kookmin Bank FC Gimpo Hallelujah FC
Ulsan Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Dolphin Suwon City FC
Ulsan Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Dolphin Suwon City FC
Gangneung City FC Gimhae City FC
Suwon City Daejeon Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power
Ulsan Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Dolphin Goyang Kookmin Bank FC

Titles By Club

Goyang Kookmin Bank FC 3 (2003, 2004, 2006) 1 (2011)
Ulsan Hyundai Mipo Dockyard 3 (2007, 2008, 2011)
Suwon City 1 (2010) 3 (2005, 2007, 2008)
Gangneung City FC 1 (2009) 1 (2004)
Incheon Korail FC 1 (2005)
Sangmu B 1 (2003)
Gimpo Hallelujah FC 1 (2006)
Gimhae City FC 1 (2009)
Daejeon Hydro & Nuclear Power 1 (2010)

Notable players

Sangmu Players

Other Players


Year Sponsor
2003 Intermax AD
2004 Hyundai Motor
2005 Kookmin Bank
2006 STC Life
2007 Kookmin Bank
2009 Kyobo Life Insurance
2010 Hanwha Daehan Life Insurance
2011 Samsung Life Insurance

Korea National League has been named after its sponsor, giving it the following names:

  • Hyundai Motors K2 League (2003 1st Stage), sponsored by Hyundai Motor Company
  • Intermax K2 League (2003 2nd Stage), sponsored by Intermax AD
  • Hyundai Motors K2 League (2004), sponsored by Hyundai Motor Company
  • Kookmin Bank K2 League (2005), sponsored by Kookmin Bank
  • STC Korea National League (2006-2007 1st Stage), sponsored by STC Life
  • Kookmin Bank Korea National League (2007 2nd Stage-2008), sponsored by Kookmin Bank
  • Kyobo Life Korea National League (2009), sponsored by Kyobo Life Insurance
  • Daehan Life Korea National League (2010), sponsored by Hanwha Daehan Life Insurance
  • Samsung Life Korea National League (2011), sponsored by Samsung Life Insurance

See also

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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