K League opening match to be streamed worldwide for free in English in boost for sport-deprived Brits – The Sun

FOOTBALL-FAMISHED fans can watch Friday's K League opener live for free in English – as South Korea does its bit for sporting morale around the world during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, title winners for the last three years, face two-time Asian club champs Suwon Samsung Bluewings at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium from 7pm, streaming on YouTube and Twitter, after all the league's "players, coaches, referees and other officials" tested negative.

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K-League chiefs say they want to "reach out" around the globe while most other countries are still in lockdown – promising online commentary remotely from Australia and "real time" English graphics.

South Korea's top flight said on their website: "This is a special promotion to introduce the opening of K LEAGUE to football fans over the world and to deliver hope of overcoming the crisis… and to raise the profile of K LEAGUE …  after successfully overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.

"K LEAGUE will stream the match with English graphics and commentary on Twitter and YouTube, apart from TV and online broadcasting. The English graphics will be covered in real-time… and the English commentary will be done by Simon Hill, a preeminent A-League commentator, remotely from Australia.

"K LEAGUE has shown measured responses of the postponement of league and reduction of the league schedule, aiming for safe league operations as a top priority.

"After the COVID-19 crisis, all players and staff strictly followed guidelines in accordance with the country’s Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, as well as a manual published by K LEAGUE, and the suspension of practical matches while minimising contact with the outside.

"As all K LEAGUE club and league personnel, including players, coaches, referees and other officials, were required to be tested for the new coronavirus by May 1, we can confirm that as everyone tested negative, K LEAGUE is finally set for the new season on May 8th in a safe state from COVID-19."

So far, though, the free coverage of Friday's opener is just a one-off.

Dylan Chuan, Audiovisual Sales Director for the league's international media rights holder, said: “The recent events brought about by COVID-19 has made leagues and federations look at new platforms to reach out to fans across the globe and allow them to experience the high-quality skills and play of the K League.


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"For some this might even be their first taste of the on-field action that the K League offers, and this initiative will certainly help to grow and deepen the interest and distribution of the league globally.”

Meanwhile, as Premier League bosses continue talks over a possible mid-June return, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cleared the Bundesliga to become Europe's first big league to resume action.

All games will be played behind closed doors, with Bayern Munich four points in front of second-placed Borussia Dortmund ahead of the last nine rounds of matches.

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