Soccer / J. League

J. League reveals new criteria for virus-shortened season

Kyodo

J. League clubs held a video conference Friday to hash out a revised schedule, as well as a framework for promotion and relegation, after postponing several rounds of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The league, which has suspended play since late February, will publish an updated season timetable on April 8.

It will target a May 2 resumption for the second division, with the top flight to come back a week later. It is also aiming for an April 25 start date for the third division, which has yet to kick off its season.

The clubs agreed that at least 75 percent of total matches, as well as at least 50 percent of fixtures for each team, must be played for the season to be considered complete. If these minimums cannot be met, there will be no promotion or prize money.

If the criteria are met, there will be no promotion and relegation playoffs, with only the first- and second-place clubs in J2 and J3 promoted automatically, provided they have the requisite licenses.

The league has strengthened a loan system to help clubs struggling financially as a result of losses stemming from the suspension of matches. It will also consider temporarily relaxing some aspects of the licensing requirement for clubs.

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