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X League pushes back start of season and shortens schedule

Staff report

The X League will push back the opening day of this year’s fall season about a month and prepare a shorter schedule because of the coronavirus outbreak, the National Football Association announced on Tuesday.

The 20-club industrial league usually begins its regular season in late August and wraps up the campaign with the Japan X Bowl in mid-December. This year, however, the X League will have its opening day in October and shorten the season, though the the league’s organizing body has yet to disclose the details.

“In a normal year the clubs would have started working out in order to build the foundation of the team around mid-February to mid-March, but many have not reached that stage,’’ the NFA wrote. “The coronavirus pandemic has also prevented clubs from recruiting new players. The NFA has decided the X League should go with Plan B (delaying and shortening the season) in order to give clubs time to prepare.’’

The X League’s spring activities, including the Pearl Bowl tournament in Kanto, the Green Bowl tournament in Kansai and exhibition games, have been canceled.

Japan’s college football officials have yet to make an official announcement on the status of their fall season.

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