No relegation in this season's J.League, Latest Football News - The New Paper

No relegation in this season's J.League

Clubs in Japan's top football league have agreed that there will be no relegation this season, the J.League announced yesterday, with the campaign severely disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The season was only one match old when the decision was made to postpone matches.

No fixtures have been played since Feb 23.

The pandemic has brought the global sporting calendar to a standstill, with top leagues in Europe being put on hold, while the European Championship and Copa America have been delayed until next year.

Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics, however, have insisted they are moving forward with the July 24 start as planned despite concerns about the virus, which has killed over 9,300 in around 160 nations.

The J.League also announced that if 75 per cent of the campaign is completed, then the top two teams in the second and third tiers of Japanese football will automatically be promoted, reported Reuters.

If the top division, which currently has 18 teams, increases to 20 sides for the 2021 season, then the league would feature four relegation spots.

Said J. League chairman Mitsuru Murai: "There are going to be a lot of obstacles in the way, and the competition may not be balanced or fair, but we want football to continue...

"Some teams might have to deal with several games behind closed doors on short notice… If we play during the Olympics or international match windows, then teams may be without their national team players.

"Even if managers have to use players from their youth team, we want matches to be played."