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University league to enforce stricter academic standards

Korea on Monday announced new rules for national school football leagues that include strict academic requirements for university student-athletes.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) said only the schools that adopt the so-called “C grade system” will be allowed to compete in the U League, a KFA-organized circuit for university football clubs, starting from 2018. Under the C grade system, students who earned an average grade of C or below for two consecutive semesters will not be able to compete in the U League.

The new academic qualification system has been already applied to the member schools of the Korea University Sport Federation (KUSF), but following the KFA decision, it is now a mandatory requirement for all clubs in the U League.

The KFA said those who are sophomores or older will have to earn at least a C for two semesters this year in order to play in the 2018 U League. To help the footballers meet their academic eligibility, the KFA said it will cooperate with schools to help them take summer classes.

Crystal Palace drops Lee Chung-yong due to injury

Korean midfielder Lee Chung-yong has been dropped from his English Premier League club’s preseason tour in Hong Kong due to injury.

Lee will not join Crystal Palace at the Premier League Asia Trophy friendly tournament, which also features Liverpool, Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion, the Croydon Advertiser reported Monday in London. It reported that Lee and his teammate James McArthur are not with the team in Hong Kong because they have picked up injuries in training, without giving further details on their injury status.

Lee, who joined the Eagles in 2015, is coming off a mediocre season, playing only 464 minutes in 15 league matches. He mainly featured as a second-half substitute last season and had only one assist.

The preseason tour was seen as a good opportunity for Lee to make an impression on new manager Frank De Boer and earn his spot. Lee was linked with a move to a new club last season, but decided to stay with the Eagles. He is contracted with the London club through June 2018.

It’s still unclear whether Lee will get the nod for Korea next month, given his unstable status with the club. The 29-year-old has eight goals in 76 matches for Korea.

The Taeguk Warriors, now managed by Shin Tae-yong, will host Iran on Aug. 31 and face Uzbekistan on the road five days later to close out the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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