Korea set to replace goal difference with goals scored

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) In a bid to increase entertainment, South Korea's K-League is set to replace goal difference with goals scored as the first means of separating teams equal on points.

A recent meeting at the league's headquarters in Seoul proposed the measure and it is expected to be confirmed in December and then be in place for the start of the 2016 season in February.

''When you watch a K-League game, you can see that after a team scores a goal, they often look to just protect that lead,'' a K-League official was quoted as saying by domestic media. ''The games can then be boring and excitement levels drop.''

The K-League may be Asia's oldest professional league and the most successful in terms of Asian titles won but has been in a lull in recent years, not helped by the relative popularity of baseball and a massive match-fixing scandal of 2011.

That episode prompted a reorganization of the league which, from 2012, splits into two halves in the final stages in the season.

The measure was made partly to make the closing stages more exciting, but it does not seem to have been effective. In the 2015 season so far, there have been an average of 2.43 goals per game, a rise from 2.21 in 2014. In the 2014-15 English Premier League season, the tally was 2.57 while Spain managed 2.66.

Authorities hope that the new rule would lead to more goals and increased excitement and bigger crowds. The average attendance for the 2014 season was 7,937.

Reaction to the proposed change has been mixed.

''I understand the thinking behind it,'' said Suwon Bluewings coach Seo Jung-won. ''Fans like to see attacking soccer and this is one way to try and help that. Using goals scored instead of goal different does not seem like a bad idea,''

Seongnam FC coach Kim Hak-bom was less enthusiastic. ''Soccer is not just about attacking. Defending is just as important. Each team has its own style and own color.''

Others, such as Gwangju FC boss Nam Ki-il, wonder whether it will actually work. ''There no team that doesn't want to score lots of goals,'' said Nam. ''What is more important is winning.''