Sangmu’s search for new home nearing conclusion

Sangmu’s search for new home nearing conclusion

The future of military club Sangmu Phoenix is a lot closer to being resolved after K-League officials confirmed a number of cities have made representations to take over the running of the club when the current contract with Gwangju city hall expires at the end of this season.

Sangmu, who moved into the Gwangju World Cup stadium ahead of the 2003 season after Gwangju city hall paid the near-$4m in franchise fees required to join the league, were initially expected to have remained in Gwangju until 2008 when a citizen club was to have been founded in the city, but Gwangju city hall were granted a further two years to set up the team after running into difficulties attracting sponsors and raising the finances required to operate a new team. With preparations for Gwangju FC now at an advanced stage and participation from 2011 virtually assured, the K-League have invited alternative cities to express interest in hosting Sangmu and four locations have emerged as potential bases for the team to relocate to.

Although no decision has officially been made, Anyang looks to be the preferred location for Sangmu to move to given the city’s past links with K-League football. LG Cheetahs were based in the city from 1996 to 2003 and were one of the best-supported sides in the league before the team was relocated to the capital to become FC Seoul ahead of the 2004 season, and Anyang city hall’s bid to attract Sangmu involves a guarantee to create a citizen club to participate in the K-League from 2014.

Also widely tipped as a likely destination is the city of Cheongju, where the military side would represent North Chungcheong province and would act as a precursor to any citizen club created to represent the province, along the lines of recent K-League entrants Gyeongnam FC and Gangwon FC.

Further interest has been expressed by the cities of Ansan and Paju, although neither is thought to have as strong as case as either Anyang or a Chungcheong-based side.

The K-League hope to make a final decision on Sangmu’s future by early October at the latest.

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  1. Woongsoo /

    Great article. Do you happen to know who will be sponsoring Gwangju City? I can’t wait for them to join the K-League fray!

  2. I always thought the K-League should have no more than 16 clubs (although I can easily make an argument saying even that’s too many). The league association should focus on building a stronger foundation by promoting lower division football, but that’s not looking likely at all which is unfortunate.

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