The first four rounds of the new Top League season have been canceled and tickets will be refunded, the Japan Rugby Football Union announced Thursday.

A week earlier, the JRFU announced that the start of the season — originally scheduled to kick off last Saturday — would be pushed back until early or mid-February due to multiple coronavirus outbreaks among players and staff.

"Thinking all players — whether or not they have tested positive or been in close contact to those infected — should be thoroughly prepared to enter the season, we will establish a period of adjustment," said a post on the Top League website.

A new format for the season is expected to be announced soon.

So far, a total of 68 positive tests have been returned by members of six different teams.