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The K3 League is a semi-professional football competition in South Korea. Created in 2007, it is considered the fourth tier of South Korean football league system. In 2017, it was divided into the fourth tier K3 League Advanced and the fifth tier K3 League Basic on a system of promotion and relegation.

K3 League
K3 League.png
Founded2007; 12 years ago (2007)
CountryKorea Republic
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Number of teams20
Level on pyramid4 (K3 League Advanced)
5 (K3 League Basic)
Domestic cup(s)Korean FA Cup
League cup(s)Challengers Cup
Current championsFC Pocheon
Most championshipsFC Pocheon
(6 titles)
2019 K3 League Advanced
2019 K3 League Basic
K3 League
Revised RomanizationK3 Rigeu
McCune–ReischauerK3 Rigŭ



2007 was the inaugural season of the K3 League, and ten teams competed in the competition.

The season operated a two-stage system, with each side playing each other once in each stage for a combined total of eighteen matches (nine in each stage). The winners of both stages, Hwasung Shinwoo Electronics FC and Seoul United respectively, plus the two teams with the best overall record from both stages, Cheonan FC and Yongin FC, entered the championship playoffs. Seoul United emerged victorious in the championship playoffs, defeating Hwasung Shinwoo Electronics FC 3–0 on aggregate. The four playoff teams earned a spot in the 2008 FA Cup competition.

Seven new clubs registered ahead of the 2008 season with just one of the founder members, Daegu Korea Powertrain, withdrawing from the league set-up.

After the first stage of the 2008 season, Changwon United withdrew from the league due to financial problem. At the end of the 2008 season, Seoul Pabal FC was closed down because some their players were implicated in the K3 League match fixing scandal.

From the 2009 season, three new clubs registered to bring the total of competing clubs to 17.

On December 1, 2009, it was announced that Seoul Yangcheon FC, Yeonggwang FC and Chuncheon Citizen FC would join the league for the 2010 season. The top nine finishers would earn a spot in the next year's FA Cup competition. The KFA also announced that undergraduates would not be allowed to play from the 2012 season onward.

On January 15, 2010, KFA announced the league schedule for the 2010 season. Seoul Yangcheon FC postponed joining the league until 2011 season. Jeonju Ongoeul FC withdrew and is now defunct.

K3 League was renamed as the Challengers League prior to the start of the 2011 season.

The 2013 season started with Hwaseong FC as the new team. Namyangju United FC, however, withdrew and Bucheon FC 1995 left after receiving approval to join the K-League. This left eighteen teams to contest the season.

In January 2014, on the day of the fixtures meeting, Asan United withdrew from the league with plans to return in 2015. FC Uijeongbu, formed at the end of the 2013 season as a citizens club, joined the league for the 2014. This meant that the total number of teams remained at eighteen. Another minor change to the league was made public in the week before the start of the season. The name of the league, for the 2014 season, was officially changed from Challengers League to K3 League Challengers.[1]

In January 2015, to avoid confusing with K League Challenge, the league name was changed back to K3 League.[2]

In 2017, K3 League introduced the division system. The first division's name is K3 League Advanced, while the second division's became K3 League Basic.

League Name HistoryEdit

  • 2007–2010: K3 League
  • 2011–2013: Challengers League
  • 2014: K3 Challengers League
  • 2015–2016: K3 League
  • 2017–present: K3 League (K3 League Advanced / K3 League Basic)

Competition FormatEdit

In 2008 season, it operated its season in two stages, with the winners of each stage and the two runners-up advancing to the post-season championship playoffs. If in the event of the same team winning both stages, there will be no playoff.

In 2009 season, the championship playoff was abolished. Each club played the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for a total of 32 games.

The 2010 season ran from March 13 through October 30. The 16 teams in the league are divided into the Group A and Group B — eight in the Group A, eight in the Group B. Each team competes against the other team in same group twice, home and away, the other group's team once, home or away, for a total of 22 games. The two group winners and two runners-up qualify to the Championship playoff.

Members for 2018 seasonEdit

The following 23 clubs will compete in the K3 League during the 2018 season.

Former clubsEdit

Club From To Current League
Daegu Korea Powertrain 2007 2007 Defunct
Changwon United 2007 2008 (1st stage) Defunct
Seoul Pabal FC 2007 2008 Defunct
Jeonju Ongoeul FC 2008 2009 Defunct
Samcheok Shinwoo Electronics 2007 2010 Defunct
Yongin Citizen 2007 2010 Defunct
Bucheon FC 1995 2008 2012 K League
Namyangju United 2008 2012 Defunct
Asan United 2007 2013 Undecided
Seoul FC Martyrs 2009 2015 Defunct
Yeonggwang FC 2010 2016 Defunct

Previous winnersEdit

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit