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Jeonnam Dragons Replace Manager Noh Sang-rae

In a surprising turn of events just hours before Jeonnam kicks off their Championship Round, Korea Football News broke news the team has replaced manager Noh Sang-rae with ex-FC Seoul assistant manager Song Kyung-sub. According to Naver Sports, Noh will stay on staff as an assistant and the demotion has to do with AFC Champions League licensing requirements more than a desired change at the helm.

According to Asian Football Confederation (AFC) regulations, any team hoping to play in the 2017 Champions League must submit their list of players and manager to AFC before October 28th and have a coach with a P Grade coaching license in order to qualify. Noh doesn't have a P Grade license, and so the Dragons front office was forced to make the switch to someone who does if they're to play in Champions League next season. This is a new requirement for 2017, and as it usually takes two years to acquire the license, Noh had no chance.

Enter Song Kyung-sub.

Song comes to Jeonnam a long serving member of K-League having stood out as a player for Busan I Park and Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the 1990s. Additionally, he's coached the U-16, 17, and 23 youth teams and signed on at Seoul in 2015. More importantly, he has a P Grade license and will allow the Dragons to play in the Champions League next season should they finish high enough in the table. Song will officially take the reins for the remainder of this season, but is acting as stand-in as it's been reported Noh Sang-rae will be re-promoted to manager after obtaining his P Grade license.

K-League is allotted 3.5 spots in the AFC Champions League with a place for the FA Cup winner, 1st and 2nd place in the league, and a single elimination play in match for the 3rd place team. The Dragons enter Championship Round (the top half of K-League) in 5th place on 43 points with 5 matches left to play. Their quest to catch Jeju United in 3rd place (49 points) and earn a spot in ACL 2017 starts this Sunday when they hit the road to play against Sangju Sangmu for the last time this year.

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