• Kyodo, staff report


The J. League's first division will finish its season on Dec. 19, the league's board of directors decided Friday.

In an extraordinary session held online, the board decided the second and third divisions, the J2 and J3, would finish the following day.

The J1 was originally scheduled to finish two weeks earlier. But the top division, which was suspended in February to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, is not set to resume until July 4, and then only behind closed doors.

The J2 will resume play on June 27, the same day the J3 kicks off its season.

The J. League's cup competition, the Levain Cup, will go forward with a modified format. The playoff stage will be eliminated, with the four group stage winners and the best second-place team advancing to the quarterfinals where they will join Japan's three Asian Champions League participants.

Teams in all competitions will be allowed up to five substitutions during the match. Participants in Levain Cup games which go into extra time will be allowed a sixth substitute.

The league also announced that FC Tokyo would withdraw its under-23 side from the J3, reducing the league from 19 to 18 teams.

In an announcement on its website, the club cited its inability to secure the use of J. League-compliant stadiums in Tokyo, due to the number of other sports leagues in need of venues following mass delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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