Football Tribe SEA Editor
The J.League have announced that they will restart their top-flight J.League 1 on May 9th, abandoning their initial plan of restarting Japanese football on April 3rd. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic getting worse and worse by each day, the league held an extraordinary session of its executive committee on Tuesday, and due to the increasing amount of cases both in Japan and worldwide, the decision was made for the sake of everyone’s safety to extend the league’s postponement beyond the planned restart date, with the three divisions within the J.League being planned to kick-off on different dates starting from late April. This would allow J.League teams ample time to prepare themselves for games held during the duration of the pandemic, which demands extra preparations and extra safety countermeasure equipments such as temperature measuring devices.
J.League chairman Mitsuru Murai told The Japan Times regarding the decision, “It was a fairly difficult decision to be made. I appreciate all 56 clubs in the league for coming to a judgement that goes beyond individual interests.”
With this new decision, the J.League 3, which has yet to play any matches, will kick-off on April 25th, followed by the J.League 2, which has only played one matchweek before the COVID-19 suspension, on May 2nd. J.League 1 itself has played only one matchweek before the suspension, which has been going on for more than 2 months, and if things go smoothly it will kick-off again on May 9th.
To avoid the spread of coronavirus within league matches, the J.League has been planning a number of measures once the league goes underway again. This includes holding matches in half-capacity or less and barring away fans from attending matches.