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News: Asan Mugunghwa Still on the Bubble



With the K League 2 season winding down, the defending champions are still in the thick of the playoff hunt currently sitting in fourth spot in the table.  However, Asan Mugunghwa face a similar situation as compared to 2018 when the team was almost disbanded after the Police Agency failed to submit a recruitment plan for this year's campaign.  In the end, they were allowed to compete with the option of transitioning to a citizen club being put on the table.  The team recently asked for a one month grace period to finalize matters, but as of now, there has been no concrete response from the league with regards to the matter.  KLU's Branko Belan has a closer look at the unfolding situation.

Asan go into play this weekend facing a tough test at home to league leaders Gwangju, who took a big step towards automatic promotion with a 2-1 victory in midweek over Ansan Greeners, while Asan were only able to manage a 1-1 draw away to Seoul E-Land.

The club faced uncertainty at the end of last season as, despite being crowned K League 2 champions, they were denied an automatic ticket to the top flight following off-season turmoil which forced them to scramble to assemble a squad for 2019 after they lost twelve members of their championship squad in February of this year.  Another significant portion of the club left in August as another crop of key players completed their military service and returned to their parent clubs.

Asan had an original deadline of September 30th to submit their development plan for a transition to a citizen club, but initial reports stated that financial considerations with Asan city council were standing in the way.

Will a One-Month Grace Period be Enough to Finalize Matters?

According to recent reports, the club has requested to the league for a one month grace period to settle matters regarding the club's transition, but a response has yet to be received.

Secretary-General of Asan Football Club Park Myung-hwa recently said that an extension was asked for three days before the original deadline and that it could take up to a month for everything to be finalized.  There is currently a deadline for the transition to be completed until next year, but recent developments suggest that sponsors are still hesitating to come on board, despite the fact that the local government voted favorably to approve budget considerations to keep the team in operation in the off-season.

Budget Considerations

Asan City mayor Oh Se-hyun held meetings with senior government officials earlier this year with regards to securing funds for the transition, but the process has faced difficulties in the meantime.  There is no question that there is a lot of support for the club with local citizens, and the hope is that a solution will be found in due course.  However, the local council also has several other development projects on the table, and it could further complicate things as a decision needs to be made soon.

From a football standpoint, Asan has contributed greatly to the development of Korean football in recent years, not only with the development of young talent in their youth ranks but also through fielding a competitive side over the past three years.  Time is certainly running short, but there is still time for terms to be agreed.  Asan is currently in a playoff position, and senior officials at the club should have it in their best interests to afford them a chance to compete for promotion, should they still find themselves in a position to do so at season's end.

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