The Korean football league system functions in an elaborate chain that might pique the interest of any football enthusiast. The system connects three leagues that are not connected to each other, and this is what makes the Korean football league quite different from any other national league system. If you must know, there is no official and direct route for movement between the three unconnected leagues, which thus, makes Korean football quite an interesting topic to pursue. Speaking of the leagues that Korean football includes within its system, the best and the only professional football league that the country has is the K-League. Now that we have introduced the Korean football system, we shall delve into the intricacies of the K-league to understand Korean football in a better light.

The History of the K-League:

The K-League finds its origin in the 1983 and functioned as the only officially organized league in the country until 2003 when the National League was first created. The K3 League was then formed in the year 2007 to give the sport in the country a holistic structure. However, these are not the only three leagues that function in the entire system of Korean football. Besides these systems, the Korean football system also has several amateur and University level football teams that take part in a number of events and competitions.

The Eligibility for Cups:

All the K-Leagues and National Leagues are eligible to qualify for the Korean FA Cup tournament. In 2008, four of the top sides from the 2007 K3 League season made it into the FA Cup tournament. Plus, qualifiers from Universities and other amateur football teams can also make it to the league season if they are good at the sport and show the potential of making it big in the future.

Speaking of the National Championship, only the sides from the National League and K3 level can participate in the championship. At the same time, the Hauzen Cup competition is open only to the K-League teams. The Korean President’s Cup is open exclusively for the football teams in the amateur and University level.

Competition across Continents:

Currently, two South Korean sides can by default, qualify for the AFC Champions League. The champion of the K-League automatically gains entry to the AFC Champions League and the A3 Champions Cup.


The Korean football system, as we can infer from the discussion, has a carefully and complicated structure of leagues. The three separate leagues that come under the K-League might not be interconnected, but they do have several intricacies and subdivisions that a football fanatic must understand if he/she is to understand the sport in its more significant details.