First batch of matches completed in Japan

Japan’s second and third divisions of football were resumed over the weekend as the first batch of matches have been completed to begin the restart.

In total, 16 matches were played between the two divisions, making it the first competitive outing across Japan since all play was suspended in late February.

The J2 second division held nine matches in the second round of the league, while the J3 third division had seven matches in what was their opening round of the season. All matches were played behind closed doors.

However, for the moment fans won’t be able to attend matches, as one of the main strict protocols that the top-flight J1 League has imposed. They must be followed in order for matches to continue safely in a week’s time.

Measures such as regular testing for players and staff every two weeks, plus new rules when training and travelling are key to getting these competitions up and running.

All clubs will be required to announce if any players, staff members or close contacts have tested positive to ensure that matches can be played under medical recommendations.

Social distancing will be maintained wherever possible, as game day procedures have been outlined. Displaying club flags, handshakes and pennant exchanges are not allowed, while players and coaches need to be two metres apart for group photos.

During the match it is advised that handshakes, hugs and uniform exchanges cannot take place, while appropriate distancing must be kept in goal celebrations. Players are encouraged not to share water bottles and cool off their bodies by using sponges dipped in ice water.

In a cautious approach, fan-made banners and flags won’t be seen in the stands even behind closed doors. It aims to reduce the number of interactions between fans and club staff.These interactions also include the media, with Zoom utilised for post-match press conferences.

The J1 League won’t begin their restart until July 4, as their first batch of matches comes a week later than the other leagues. Depending on the ever-changing coronavirus situation, it is hoped that spectators can slowly return to games in the near future, by building up the crowd numbers.

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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Graduates congratulated after completing FIFA Diploma in Club Management program

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has congratulated the 2024 graduates of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management course at FIFA headquarters, which include former Socceroo Tim Cahill and former Manchester City player Fernandinho.

Since its launch in 2021, the FIFA Diploma in Club Management has become a networking platform for senior club executives to share knowledge about the industry insights essential for successful football club management. The 18-month course is comprised of six-course models, each covering important topics and aspects of club management.

The topics which are covered in this course are leadership and management, sporting strategy and youth academies, marketing and communication, club operations and stadium management, governance and legal matters and finance.

Infantino spoke to the attendees of the graduation ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland:

“The course’s aim was to encourage knowledge and best practice exchange to be able to ensure football’s continued growth and health worldwide,” he said in a statement.

“You understand that club football is crucial for the development and the survival of football in all countries of the world.

“That is what we have to foster and what we have to work on, and to do this, you have to be well-equipped and well-prepared, and this is our aim at FIFA: to give you this preparation, to give you this equipment, to open the doors of FIFA here in Zurich and everywhere in the world.

“Our doors are open for you to come and exchange with us, and also to exchange between yourselves.”

The graduates of the second edition of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management started back in September 2022 in New York where they attended lectures given by the likes of FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger and FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Berman and their final project of the course was a strategy plan which was presented before the graduation.

The third edition of the program began in May 2024 and is headed by FIFA Director of Professional Football Ornella Desirée Bellia. Some of the participants who are involved include former Juventus player Giorgio Chiellini and Como 1907 coach Cesc Fàbregas alongside club owners, CEO’s and sporting directors.

Soccerscene celebrates sixth-year anniversary

Soccerscene is celebrating its sixth anniversary as Australia’s business-to-business publication for the football community.

Since its inception, Soccerscene has committed to the highest standards of reporting on the most pressing topics surrounding the world of sports business. We have been the first port of call for potential buyers and sellers and deliver all the first-hand news – including interviews, discussions, product reviews, case studies and insight into all facets of the growing Australian and international football market.

Here at Soccerscene, we can’t celebrate six years without thanking all our readers, followers and the numerous industry and club communities for helping us along the way.

Special thanks goes to our major partners including Football Coaches Australia, Professional Footballers Australia and Box2Box – your constant support has been crucial to all we have achieved over these last six years.

Thank you to everyone and we are excited for the future years ahead in this constantly developing industry – from all us at Soccerscene.

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