South Korean refiner to pump cash into K-League

SEOUL, Feb 23 (Reuters) - South Korea's smallest oil refiner, Hyundai Oilbank, has agreed to sponsor the country's top-flight football league.

The K-league, which named Chung Mong-gyu its new chairman late last month, kicks off the new season on March 5 and the new sponsor hopes the deal will be a win-win for both parties.

Financial details of the agreement were not revealed.

"We're pleased to be the title sponsor for the K-League, which will make a fresh start in 2011," Yonhap News quoted a Hyundai Oilbank official as saying. "We will try to help football grow more popular and also to raise our brand recognition through marketing."

South Korean football continues to produces some of the region's top talent but the domestic league has been suffering dwindling attendances and declining television ratings.

Former chariman Kwak Chung-hwan stepped down with a year left on his term to take responsibility for the current struggles.

The K-League's new chief Chung, who is also the chairman of construction firm Hyundai Development Co., owns Busan I'Park - one of country's 16 top-flight clubs.

Hyundai Motor Co. was the league's title sponsor in 2010.