Gwangju gets serious about Asia, but worries outweigh excitement

October 23, 2023 | by

Gwangju FC is at a crossroads.

Gwangju is having one of the best seasons in the club’s history this season. After 34 rounds, they are in third place with 57 points from 16 wins, 9 draws, and 9 losses. They are two points behind the second-place Pohang Steelers (59 points) and looking to move up the standings. They have a five-point lead over fourth-place Jeonbuk Hyundai (52 points). With four games to go, the chances of finishing in the top three are increasing. They’ve already recorded the most wins and points in a season in the first division, and they’re likely to finish in the top spot.

At their current position, Gwangju are likely to qualify for the 2024-2025 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Club Competition. Starting that season, the AFC will be organizing two competitions. The winner of the K League 1 and the FA Cup will qualify for the Champions League Elite, while the second-place finisher in the K League 1 will compete in a playoff. The third place finisher will play in Champions League 2. Depending on the outcome of the FA Cup, the third place finisher can also play in the Champions League Elite. The Champions League Elite is the European Football Association’s (UEFA) equivalent of the Champions League, while Champions League 2 is the equivalent of the Europa League.

Gwangju’s run won’t end anytime soon. Gwangju is 6-1-1 in its last seven matches. In round 34, they defeated leaders Ulsan Hyundai. The team is on a roll, capable of winning against any opponent. They won’t be going down easy in their remaining games. 스포츠토토

Despite the best times in the club’s history, Gwangju is not all smiles. Gwangju operates on one of the smallest budgets in the K League 1. Even last year, when they won the K League 2 title, they were in the middle of the pack. The team has made a tremendous turnaround in the past two years under the leadership of head coach Lee Jeong-hyo, but if the team is forced to play club vs. club from 2024, it will be difficult to manage. The club’s current budget and facilities are not enough to compete in Asia. Even this season, Gwangju did not have a proper training facility and the team struggled in the cold weather. It’s a miracle that they’ve been able to do this under the current circumstances.

That’s why Lee hasn’t let the good results stop him from continuing to speak out for Gwangju and the club. If the club’s budget is not increased and facilities are not expanded, Gwangju may not be able to continue its high-flying run as it nears the Asian stage. This is why Gwangju and the club need to change.


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