Problems of game-fixing have prompted officials of the K-League, the top division of South Korean professional soccer, to adopt innovations that include promotion and relegation.
South Korean clubs are the most successful in Asian competitions but are also plagued by organizational and financial shortcomings that leave the league far behind its biggest rival in Asia, Japan's J-League. A corruption scandal last year resulted in the indictment of more than 60 players and coaches. As part of the changes, relegation will take place in 2012 for the first time ever as the league enters its 30th season. The league will also split into two groups, a la the Scottish Premier Division, to reduce the number of meaningless games that are could be targeted for tampering.
"It is time," the K-League's deputy general manager Kwon Sung-jin told Associated Press. "The match-fixing problem is a part of it but we want to take the league and the soccer system as a whole to the next level''
Of the 16 teams that start the coming season in March, two will be relegated to a newly organized second tier. Two more will be relegated the following season to reduce the top flight to 12 teams. Following that, there will be annual promotion and relegation between the two tiers.