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Murai presented as next J. League chairman

Kyodo

Mitsuru Murai, who is set to be approved as the J. League’s next chairman on Jan. 31, said Friday the league has come to a “huge turning point.”

“The league is at a huge turning point, but I will accept the challenge and do whatever I have to do,” Murai told a news conference.

He will be formally approved by the league’s board of directors on Jan. 31.

This year, the league is expanding by adding a third division, while the first division will adopt a two-stage format from the 2015 season.

“Attendance is gradually declining,” Murai said. “At issue is how we can reach out to young people and people who will bring their families and get them to come.”

Murai, who will be the league’s fifth chairman, will succeed its outgoing leader, 65-year-old Kazumi Ohigashi, who engineered both the addition of the J3 and the two-stage format.