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KBO, K League fans back in stadiums? Updated: 2020-06-26 17:18:26 KST

Professional football, baseball and golf leagues and competitions got underway in South Korea despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemicall without fans in attendance.
But, fans returning to sports stadiums in Korea might not be so far away.
Our Sports editor Paul Neat is in the studio again this week.

Paul, while fans will have been enjoying watching sporting events on television, it's not quite the same as being there in person

No, it's not. But, during a media briefing Thursday, the Central Disaster Management Headquarters said that discussions have taken place with the sports ministry regarding allowing fans back into stadiums again. This will be most welcome news not just to the fans, but the teams too which are said to be struggling financially.

For example, a team will make 180 million won (US$ 147,925) per home game. Already teams will have played roughly 20 home matches so you can see just how much money they are losing.

The news comes following Japan deciding to allow a restricted number of fans in stadiums, perhaps we will see something similar?

Yes, it might be a very similar system. 5,000 or around 50% of a stadium's capacity will be allowed to watch baseball games in Japan starting July 10th. The J.League said that similar rules will apply for football fans too but with some guidelines in place, such as no shouting. All of this still needs to be determined in Korea. I spoke to someone within K League yesterday who informed me that they are aiming to have fans in stadiums by early July.

Staying with baseball, the MLB is also due back next month.

Yes, it is. A 60-game reduced MLB season will return on July 23rd or 24th meaning fans will be able to see the likes of Ryu Hyun-jin and Choo Shin-soo in just a matter of weeks. Players will return to training camps on July 1st so more on that when we have it.

To football now, EPL got back underway just last week but a new champion has been crowned already?

That's right, Liverpool were crowned champions last night - despite not being in action. Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 4-0 on Wednesday meaning that a win for Chelsea over second-placed Manchester City would seal it. Chelsea won 2-1 and so Jurgen Klopp and his men were named as champions. This is Liverpool's first league title since 1990.

Speaking of league titles, a Korean international looks set to win the Austrian Bundesliga?

That's right. Hwang Hee-chan and his Red Bull Salzburg teammates have already lifted the Austrian Cup this season, but are close to a sixth-consecutive Austrian Bundesliga title. A 7-2 win in midweek of second-placed Rapid Wien - with Hwang scoring the 7th from the spot - moved Salzburg eight points clear with three games to go. A win against Hartberg this Sunday will seal it.

But this could be Hwang Hee-chan's last season in Austria with a transfer to Germany being reported.

Yes, Hwang has been with Red Bull Salzburg since 2015 but is being linked to a move to the German Bundesliga with Salzburg's sister club, Red Bull Leipzig. He only has a year left on his contract and so could be available at a knock-down price.

In Spain I understand that fans have been talking about a young star dubbed the "Mexican Messi"?

Indeed. Luka Romero, just 15-years-old became the youngest La Liga debutant in history. With long hair and a similar build, Romero has been likened to a young Lionel Messi. He made his debut in Mallorca's 2-0 defeat away to Real Madrid earlier this week and I am sure we will be seeing more of him in the near future.

Thank-you for that, Paul. See you next time.
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