Football Tribe SEA Editor
The J.League has announced today that they will suspend the second matchday of the J.League Cup group stages scheduled for tomorrow, due to the currently ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Japan. The league also announced that their executives are drafting up a proposal to suspend all matches within their competitions until March 15th, which includes the J.League 1, the J.League 2, and the J.League 3. This comes after both the football associations of China and South Korea have suspended the start of the 2020 edition of both the Chinese Super League and the K.League 1 due to the coronavirus outbreak, with Vietnam’s V.League 1 and V.League 2 also suffering the same outbreak-caused suspension.
“Monday’s meeting of a governmental panel of medical experts declared that the next couple of weeks will be a critical juncture in terms of whether the virus rapidly spreads or can be contained. In order to cooperate as much as it can to contain the virus and prevent its spread, the J.League is preparing to resume its match calendar in the second half of March,” announced the J.League in a statement quoted from The Japan Times, “The J.League will provide its maximum cooperation for the prevention of the spread (of the virus) and anti-infection measures.”
Should the J.League’s proposal is approved, matches affected by the postponement will include Matchdays 2-4 of the J.League 1, J.League 2, and the J.League Cup, as well as the opening 2 matchdays of the J.League 3. This would mark the first time that the J.League has suspended multiple matchdays since the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.
With medical experts warning that the coming week or two will be critical for Japan in their efforts of containing the coronavirus outbreak from spreading out of control, the country’s health minister has already urged people to avoid crowds and unnecessary gatherings, while businesses are encouraged to perform teleworking and off-peak commuting.
And with the clock ticking closer to the Tokyo Olympics, organizers have stressed that the Games will go on despite mounting fears over the coronavirus’ spread.
While the AFC has postponed matches involving Chinese teams in the 2020 AFC Champions League due to the outbreak, it is unclear whether the matches involving Japanese and South Korean teams in this year’s ACL will be postponed as well or will be played behind closed doors.