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All J-League matches postponed due to coronavirus outbreak

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-02-26 08:52
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TOKYO - Japan's professional football league matches at all levels have been postponed due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the J-League announced on Tuesday.

The J-League said in a statement on its website that all matches "scheduled in between 28th February and 15th March" will be put off after a decision made at the Board of Directors held on Tuesday.

It said that the decision was made "considering the statement made by the experts on a government panel that the upcoming one to two weeks are critical to prevent clusters of the new coronavirus from further spreading."

"J-League will take every effort to take measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus and to prepare to resume the matches.

"Substitutional dates and handling of tickets will be announced once decided."

Nippon Professional Baseball is also considering postponing matches due to the spread of the virus, with a decision expected to be made at an extraordinary meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday, Kyodo news agency said.

Omi Shigeru, former Regional Director of World Health Organization (WHO) West Pacific, said on Monday, "The next one to three weeks is very crucial. We are at the crossroads. The speed of the expansion of the virus is very rapid. There are still possibilities for escalation and expansion.

"What we have to do is to concentrate on doing everything required to reduce the speed of the expansion.

"We cannot have illusions but we can reduce the speed of the expansion and reduce the mortality."

The 71-year-old even warned that "it is too early to think about the Olympic Games".

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