Korea, England: closer football tiesThe Korea Football Association (KFA) and the Football Association (FA) of England reached a memorandum of understanding Monday calling for increased football exchanges.
In a ceremony held in Seoul, Cho Chung-yun, chairman of the KFA, and Dave Richards, one of two FA vice chairmen, signed the memorandum covering England’s provision of “advisory information for structuring and operating” professional and amateur leagues in Korea, coach and referee development programs between the two countries and knowledge exchange programs for football administration officers.
The two football officials also said the English national team will visit Korea face the Korean national team in a friendly sometime during 2011 or 2012.
Richards, also the chairman of the English Premier League, the first-division pro league in England, said the two sides will “cooperate at all levels of the game.”
“We look forward to working in the future with the young teams and cooperating together to see how each team works,” Richards said at a news conference. “We discussed other things .?.?. We got to solutions where we will cooperate in the next few years to enhance both English football and Korean football.”
Cho said he expects help from England in introducing a league relegation system. Earlier Monday, the KFA’s board decided to adopt the European-style relegation system for the first-division K-League by 2013.
In the 20-club Premier League, the three worst teams after each season are relegated to the second-tier league, replaced by the top three clubs from the lower-level league. The K-League, which has 16 clubs, plans to introduce the relegation system in 2013. Korea’s second-division National League has 14 teams.
Founded in 1983 under the name Korean Super League, Korea’s top-tier football league had a total of five clubs in the beginning. Although the league has grown in size, it had failed to adopt the relegation system, a system which is used by most professional football leagues around the world. The Asian Football Confederation recently made it mandatory for its professional leagues to implement the system in order to compete in the annual AFC Champions League tournament.
Richards said it was “part of the philosophy” of both the FA and the Premier League to help other leagues around the world. But he also said England is benefiting from the contributions of “two great Korean players” in the Premier League: Park Ji-sung of Manchester United and Lee Chung-yong of the Bolton Wanderers.
“I think that KFA, the FA and the Premier League learn from one another,” Richards said. “I think it’s up to chairman Cho and myself to try to develop our relationship [so that] it’s not just one way, but it’s about both ways.”
The two football leaders said the date for the Korea-England match has not been fixed and the matter needs to be discussed back in England later this month. Richards said matches for England are generally processed two years ahead of a FIFA World Cup. The next World Cup is scheduled for 2014 in Brazil.
The last friendly match between the two countries took place in Korea in May 2002, just weeks before the World Cup co-hosted by Korea and Japan.
The teams played to a 1-1 draw.