| National League|
|Number of Teams|
| AFC Champions League |
A3 Champions Cup
|Regular season where teams play each other home and away for a total of 26 matches. Upon completion of the regular season, the top six enter the championship playoff until the eventual championship final involving the prevailing side taking on the first placed team in a home and away series.|
|Current Champions (2007)|
In 1994, Korea's football league was reformed and renamed the K-League. Since its creation, the league has expanded from an initial five to fourteen teams. Of the five inaugural clubs, only Daewoo, POSCO and Yukong Elephants remain in the K-League; Kookmin Bank FC dropped out of the league at the end of 1984, and Hallelujah followed the season after.
At present the K-League is the only professional league in Korea, the K-League, and it contains fourteen member clubs.
Below the level of the K-League there is the National League, a closed semi-professional/amateur league with fourteen members, established in 2003. The third level of football in Korea is the K3 League.
There is, at present, no official system of promotion and relegation between any of the three leagues, however since 2006 the champions of the National League have been eligible for promotion to the K-League provided they meet certain criteria. Goyang Kookmin Bank and Ulsan Mipo Dockyard, National League champions in 2006 and 2007 respectively, both rejected the opportunity to move up to the K-League.
The K-League season typically begins around March/April and runs to late November each year. The number of games, clubs and the systems used have varied through the years, but for 2008 the league will operate with a full stage regular season followed by a top six championship playoff system.
The fourteen member clubs play each other twice in the regular season giving a total of 26 matches. The top six sides at the end of the regular season will enter the championship playoffs. In the first two matches, the third-placed team will face the sixth-placed team and the fourth-placed team will face the fifth-placed team, with the two winners then playing off for the right to face the second-placed team. The winner of that match will then progress to the two-legged championship playoff final where the first-placed side lie in wait, with the overall winner of the home and away series being crowned champions for 2007.
The K-League champions gain entry to the AFC Champions League the following season.
A number of the member clubs are owned by major Korean Chaebols, and the club names reflect that fact. Teams have adopted local city names in an effort to integrate themselves more with the local communities; for example, Daewoo evolved over the years into Daewoo Royals, Busan Daewoo Royals, Busan I'cons and latterly Busan I'Park.
Although a number of K-League teams have relocated in the past, the Lucky Goldstar (LG) corporation caused a huge controversy at the end of 2003 when they made the decision to uproot their Anyang LG Cheetahs team from the Seoul satellite city of Anyang and move into the empty Seoul World Cup stadium, becoming FC Seoul. Then following the 2005 season SK announced it was moving the Bucheon SK team to the island of Jeju, where they became Jeju United FC.
Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma are the most successful team in terms of championship victories, having lifted the title on no less than seven occasions. The roll-call of champions is as follows (present-date names included where teams have changed names previously):
|1984||Daewoo Royals||Yukong Kokkiri|
|1985||Lucky-Goldstar Hwangso||POSCO Atoms|
|1986||POSCO Atoms||Lucky-Goldstar Hwangso|
|1987||Daewoo Royals||POSCO Atoms|
|1988||POSCO Atoms||Hyundai Horang-i|
|1989||Yukong Kokkiri||Lucky-Goldstar Hwangso|
|1990||Lucky-Goldstar Hwangso||Daewoo Royals|
|1991||Daewoo Royals||Hyundai Horang-i|
|1992||POSCO Atoms||Ilhwa Chunma|
|1993||Ilhwa Chunma||LG Cheetahs|
|1994||Ilhwa Chunma||Yukong Elephants|
|1995||Ilhwa Chunma||Pohang Atoms|
|1996||Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i||Suwon Samsung Bluewings|
|1997||Busan Daewoo Royals||Chunnam Dragons|
|1998||Suwon Samsung Bluewings||Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i|
|1999||Suwon Samsung Bluewings||Busan Daewoo Royals|
|2000||Anyang LG Cheetahs||Bucheon SK|
|2001||Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma||Anyang LG Cheetahs|
|2002||Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma||Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i|
|2003||Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma||Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i|
|2004||Suwon Samsung Bluewings||Pohang Steelers|
|2005||Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i||Incheon United|
|2006||Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma||Suwon Samsung Bluewings|
|2007||Pohang Steelers||Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma|
|Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma||7 (1993, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006)||2 (1992, 2007)|
|Pohang Steelers||4 (1986, 1988, 1992, 2007)||4 (1985, 1987, 1995, 2004)|
|Busan I'Park||4 (1984, 1987, 1991, 1997)||3 (1983, 1990, 1999)|
|Anyang LG Cheetahs||3 (1985, 1990, 2000)||4 (1986, 1989, 1993, 2001)|
|Suwon Samsung Bluewings||3 (1998, 1999, 2004)||2 (1996, 2006)|
|Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i||2 (1996, 2005)||5 (1988, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003)|
|Bucheon SK||1 (1989)||3 (1984, 1994, 2000)|
|Hallelujah FC||1 (1983)|
|Chunnam Dragons||1 (1997)|
|Incheon United||1 (2005)|
There have been a total of 17 member clubs in the history of the K-League - those clubs are listed below with their current names (where applicable):