Football in North Korea

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Association football in North Korea is governed by the DPR Korea Football Association (KFA), which was established in 1945. Due to the state's secrecy, attendances and popularity for club matches in the country are hard to gauge. Football is the most popular sport in the country.

Governing body[edit]

The KFA oversees the North Korea national football team, the North Korea women's national football team and the North Korean football league system, including the DPR Korea League. The body became an AFC affiliate in 1954 and a FIFA affiliate in 1958. Its chairman is Mun Jae Chol.

Teams and competitions[edit]

North Korea vs. Brazil at the 2010 FIFA World Cup

The DPR Korea League is the highest league in the Korean football league system. Below it comes the DPR K-League 2 and the Amateur DPR K-League 3. The DPR Korea League consists of three leagues which are played at different times of the year.
Prior to 2017, the DPR Korea League winners were not eligible for any Asian Football Confederation club competition.
Since 2017, the top 2 clubs in the DPR Korea League compete in the AFC Cup.
The main cup competition is the DPR Korean Cup, sometimes known as the Open Cup.

Men's national team[edit]

The North Korea national football team are ranked 124th in the world. They consist of North Koreans and Chongryon-affiliated Koreans born in Japan. In 1966, the team managed to make up for a 3–0 loss to the Soviet Union in the first match of the group stages to qualify for the next round in second. In the group stage of the 1966 World Cup, North Korea surprisingly beat Italy 1–0 in the group stage to clinch the second place, thus qualifying for the quarter-finals.[1] Whilst there, Korea DPR lost 5–3 to Portugal thanks to four goals from Eusébio, after being 3–0 up on 25 minutes.[2] In 2010, the North Korea team failed to get past the group stages, finishing bottom of the group and losing all three matches.[3] Subsequently, the team also failed to qualify for the 2014 or 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Women's national team[edit]

Unlike the men's team, the women's squad consists entirely of North Korea-born Koreans. It is much more successful than its male counterpart, reaching the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2007[4] and winning the AFC Women's Asian Cup in 2008.[5] They were also disqualified for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, due to using illegal drugs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lacey, David (20 July 1966). "North Koreans profit by Italy's misfortune". The Guardian. p. 15. 
  2. ^ "When Middlesbrough hosted the 1966 World Cup Koreans". BBC. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Fifa investigates North Korea World Cup abuse claims". BBC. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Women's World Cup results". BBC. 30 September 2007. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Kim commends Korean spirit". AFC official website. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]