(LEAD) Top nat’l football tournament renamed Korea Cup

The top national football tournament bringing professional and amateur teams together will be renamed the Korea Cup starting in 2024, the sport's national governing body announced Thursday. The competition, organized annually by the Korea Football Association (KFA), has been called the FA Cup since its inception in 1996. The KFA said it wanted to include the name of the country in the tournament, following the example of national competitions in France and Italy. The KFA also said it wanted to avoid confusion with the FA Cup in England. The tournament format will also change starting this year, and the championship final will go from a two-legged affair to a one-and-done showdown. The semifinals, which used to be played in single legs, will now have two legs. Starting this year, the final will be played at Seoul World Cup Stadium, considered the holy ground of South Korean football. This decision was inspired by England's move to make the iconic Wembley Stadium the permanent venue of its FA Cup final in 2 007. In other rule changes, the video assistant referee (VAR) will be put in place starting in the quarterfinals. The VAR had only been present in the final at previous tournaments. The 2024 Korea Cup winner will also qualify for the 2025-2026 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Elite, the top continental club competition, only if that club also finishes among the top four in the top-flight K League 1. However, if the Korea Cup champion finishes outside the top four in the K League 1, then the top two clubs from the K League 1 will grab tickets to the AFC Champions League Elite. The third-place team from the K League 1 will advance to the playoff for the AFC Champions League Elite. In this case, the Korea Cup winner will play in the lower-tier AFC Champions League 2. Source: Yonhap News Agency