TOKYO - Japan's J-League will resume on April 23 after the season was put on hold following this month's
earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country's north-east
coast, league chairman Kazumi Ohigashi told local media on
"I personally paid a visit to Kashima, Sendai as well as
Mito and briefed the executive committee of their situation
today," Ohigashi told Kyodo news agency of the three clubs who
sustained the worst damage from the March 11 tremor.
"There were various opinions at the meeting. Some felt we
should start sooner, some said later. But the J-League feels it
is in the best interests of everyone to start on April 23.
"We feel like this is the best available option," he said.
The league's top two divisions have been suspended since
the weekend of March 5 and representatives from 37 of the 38
clubs, less Vegalta Sendai, met for the second time in two weeks
to discuss when and how to resume play.
The five rounds of league games that will have been missed
by April 23 will be moved to July, while Kashima, Sendai and
Mito will play at neutral venues until repair work to their
stadiums has been completed.
To counter an electricity shortage suffocating eastern
Japan, all games sanctioned by the J-League will be held during
the day to conserve power - until the summer months, when it
becomes too hot for afternoon kick-offs.
The J-League also remains in discussions with the Japan
Football Association (JFA) about the national side's
participation as an invitee in the Copa America in Argentina in
Ohigashi said a final decision would be made when Japan
coach Alberto Zaccheroni returns from Italy in time for the
March 29 charity match against a J-League select team.
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