Special adviser to Division One side Kashima Antlers Masaru Suzuki has informally been tabbed as the new chairman of the J. League, soccer sources said Tuesday.

A formal decision on the successor to outgoing chairman Saburo Kawabuchi is expected at the league’s board of directors meeting July 23.

Kawabuchi, 65, is widely expected to be elected president of the Japan Football Association at the JFA board of directors meeting on July 20 and has decided to end his 10 years at the helm of Japan’s professional soccer league.

Suzuki, 66, has served a stint as assistant director of Kashima’s parent organization, Sumitomo Metal Industries Kashima Works, and put in six years from June 1994 as Kashima president.

Suzuki also became a member of the J. League’s board of directors in June 1994 and has served eight years.

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