Growing voices calling for the transition of the Chuchun Festival… K-League, “I know the atmosphere, but the reality”
Japan’s J-League is showing interesting moves recently. It is intended to convert the league system, which has been in the form of a spring festival (spring-fall), to a chunchu festival (fall-spring). It is not a sudden flow. It has already shown steady signs.
Earlier this year, Kozo Kozo, 안전놀이터 president of the Japan Football Association (JFA), directly said, “We need to follow the global trend. There will be many difficulties, but it is time to discuss in earnest.” And it is known that the on-site response to the change in the league system has been quite positive. Japanese media said, “It was a serious meeting, not a simple idea meeting. Most of the J-League members voted in favor,” he said.
It cannot be denied that Chuchunje is close to the global standard. Most of the European countries, which are the mainstream of the international soccer world, are running their national leagues as a spring festival, and Asia has become an unavoidable trend. Most of the Middle East and West Asian countries, which have become the mainstream of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), also operate leagues based on the Chuchun system. The transfer market, which is held twice a year in summer and winter, as well as major international competitions in which clubs participate, are operated based on the Autumn Festival. The AFC Champions League (ACL), which was held as a spring and autumn system, will also be converted to a autumn system starting from the 2023-2024 season.
The K-League is well aware of this atmosphere. The Korea Professional Football Federation is also in the position that “discussion is necessary.” Many K-League clubs also have a certain degree of consensus, such as basically sympathizing with the Chuchun Festival.
Of course, there are many practical difficulties. In Korea, which has four seasons, winter is especially long. In order to operate the Chuchunje league, it is absolutely necessary to have at least a two-month pre-season for team reshuffle and field training, as well as a winter break from mid-December to early February of the following year to protect players.
However, K-League 1 has a structure where each team plays 38 games, and considering the FA Cup, promotion playoffs, and ACL, there is no room for a break of more than four months, including the middle of the season (two months). It is possible to switch to the Chuchun system only by revising the operation method, such as reducing the total number of games.
Stadium management is also a stumbling block here. In Europe, heat rays are laid on the ground floor, and after home games, each club uses artificial lighting to help grow the grass. In the Middle East, which has enormous financial power, they make the ‘easy’ choice of overturning the entire ground whenever necessary. Only a handful of teams use mining machines, and the K-League, which requires hundreds of millions of won to lay grass for at least 10 years, does not readily come close to the Chuchunje.