Finke calls for change to J. League schedule


SAITAMA — Urawa Reds manager Volker Finke has urged the J. League to change the timing of its season to align with the European calendar.

Finke, speaking after his side had beaten Sanfrecce Hiroshima at a steamy Saitama Stadium on Saturday, believes switching from summer to a winter season would make conditions more comfortable to play in.

“I think it would be very nice to have a break of two months in summer, to have the same break as in Europe,” he said. “You can play in December and January no problem.

“In Europe they heat the pitch, and I think they have enough money here to make this. Now it’s very hot, and in these two months it’s not so nice to work. I think if we had another schedule it would be fine for Japanese football.”

Finke’s comments echo those made last year by JFA president Motoaki Inukai, who floated the idea of a calendar change to assist with player transfers to and from Europe and to escape the summer heat.

Inukai’s proposal to effect change in 2010 was shot down because of scheduling complications, but Finke believes something must be done to ease the burden on his players.

“Sometimes we have seven or eight players away with the federation, and I think next year will be very difficult because I heard there are 17 (national team) games to prepare for the World Cup,” he said.

“If you have a club like Urawa Reds that normally has three, four, five national team players, they are always away and it’s not so nice.

“OK they come back, but they have only one training session with the team and then a game. This is really a problem, and with the world championship I think we will have a problem next season also with the J. League.

“In Germany after 17 Bundesliga games you have one or two — maximum three — cup games, then a break of three weeks. Here there is no break and we are playing, playing, playing.”

Tokyo mauls Nagoya

Kyodo News

Free-scoring Naohiro Ishikawa sent a message to watching Japan coach Takeshi Okada by orchestrating FC Tokyo’s 3-0 win over Nagoya Grampus in the J. League on Sunday.

The 28-year-old Athens Olympic midfielder broke the deadlock after just four minutes to extend his scoring streak to five matches, and then had a hand in the second as Cabore pounced to make it 2-0 at Ajinomoto Stadium.

Substitute Tatsuya Suzuki wrapped up victory in second-half stoppage time, moving Tokyo into fifth spot on 28 points at the midway point of the season.

At the bottom of the table, Yusuke Murakami snatched an 89th-minute winner as Kashiwa Reysol beat Kyoto Sanga 2-1 away, but Oita Trinita slumped 3-1 away to Jubilo Iwata, a result that looks certain to cost Brazilian manger Pericles Chamusca his job.

Iwata striker Ryoichi Maeda scored twice to sentence Oita to its 14th consecutive league defeat.

At Ajinomoto Stadium, Ishikawa opened the scoring with a peach of a strike from the edge of the box under pressure from three defenders, and Cabore extended the home side’s lead 10 minutes before the break.

“I just have to keep banging in the goals,” said Ishikawa.