With the rest of the J.League 1 playing J.League Cup matches in the midweek, the stage was set for the league’s four AFC Champions League qualifiers to face-off against one another in two rescheduled J1 matches. However, as Kawasaki Frontale are set to face Cerezo Osaka on Wednesday evening at the Todoroki Athletics Stadium, the match between Nagoya Grampus against Gamba Osaka, due to be played at the same time at Nagoya’s Toyota Stadium, was postponed until an unspecified date after cases of COVID-19 were detected at the Gamba camp.
Concerns were raised in regards of the Nagoya-Gamba match when on Tuesday morning an unidentified Gamba player reported a fever. He was then subsequently tested with a positive result coming out in the evening. As the player in question was recuperating at home, the rest of the squad have already made the trip up to Aichi Prefecture, where they are tested further. Two people – an unidentified player and an unidentified staff member – were tested positive and were asymptomatic, and they were asked to isolate themselves.
Another Gamba player, also unidentified and tested positive for COVID-19, did not travel with the squad to Nagoya and is now isolating at home, rounding off the total amount of people infected by the disease within the Gamba camp into four.
According to the newly-drafted J.League regulations regarding the pandemic, Gamba are required to field a minimum squad of 13 players and if they’re unable to do so and there’s no available dates for rescheduling, then the men from Suita are to be given a 3-0 defeat thanks to forfeit. However, as it is possible to hold the match on May 19th – assuming that Nagoya’s ACL commitments are not hampering with the team’s traveling schedule due to the quarantine measures deployed elsewhere -, Gamba will not be subjected to that punishment, however should the reschedule gets postponed due to COVID, then Gamba will once again face the risk of a 3-0 forfeit.
With Nagoya fans who had bought tickets for the match to be refunded as soon as possible, Massimo Ficcadenti’s men acted quickly and satiated the public’s disappointment on the match’s cancellation with an impromptu public training session at the Toyota Stadium.