Restart for professional sport in Japan edging closer


A restart for professional sport in Japan is on track as restrictions are being lifted around the country.

In a report by The Japan Times, both the J. League and Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) have a clearer timeline for a potential return, as the state of emergency has been lifted in the Kansai region and reevaluated in the greater Tokyo area.

The leagues were involved in an eighth meeting of their joint task force figuring out a plan to return to action – without fans the likely scenario for now.

Medical experts have indicated that infection rates have dropped across Japan, paving the way for these leagues to resume their seasons under the right protocols to prevent the spread between players and staff members.

Mitsuo Kaku, the leader of the task force’s medical panel and an authority on infectious disease, spoke during an online news conference:

“While the country has issued the state of emergency, large-scale events including sports have not been held,” he said.

“But the situation has drastically changed recently. We don’t know yet what will happen to the Tokyo metropolitan area and Hokkaido, but we believe the conditions are in place for the state of emergency to be lifted for the entire country.

“We are not in the position to say when the appropriate timing is for the leagues to start playing, but we believe that we are getting closer to being able to host sporting events.”

The medical experts have stated that it is the responsibility of the leagues to pay close attention to the players and staff for signs and symptoms of Covid-19 ahead of the restart for professional sport, to prevent infections going on to families and close contacts – which should include regular testing and hygiene.

In fact, it’s been suggested that track-and-trace systems could be implemented for fans once they are allowed back in the stands, which would help detect more cases.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike outlined a plan to restart the capital’s economy, adding that the J. League and NPB would be able to host games behind closed doors following the state of emergency being lifted.

“We heard that pro baseball was listed in ‘step No. 1’ by the Tokyo governor,” Saito said.

“We would like to move forward, taking the advice of the medical experts to heart.”

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Tigres secures deal for new 65,000 seat stadium

Mexican soccer giants Tigres UANL have secured a deal to see a brand new 65,000 seat stadium ready by 2025.

Mexican soccer giants Tigres UANL have secured a deal to see a brand new 65,000 seat stadium ready by 2025.

The stadium will be based in the heart of San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León, and will be replacing the old 42,000 seat stadium, known as Estadio Universitario, The previous stadia has been the home of Tigres since 1967.

The new stadium was presented on Thursday, January 13 at a meeting that included Governor of Nuevo León and Samuel García, through a Memorandum of Understanding to commence construction.

Tigres’ future home was designed by architecture firm Populous and envisioned to be entirely privately financed at a cost of $445 million AUD.

The stadium’s features will include a retractable pitch, as well as being able to host concerts and international sporting events like American football games.

As part of the overall plans, the stadium will include separate changing rooms for Tigres’ men’s and women’s teams, while the exterior stadia complex will complement with a hotel, shopping centre and restaurants. The venue is also intended to act as an incubator for local business, and will also have classrooms catering for the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL).

Juego de Pelota principle partner, César Esparza:

“There is going to be another setting for concerts and sport,” he said.

“It is a stadium prepared to host all sports, this stadium will be the postcard of Nuevo León.

“Stadium events will not be expensive for fans, as long as it has that capacity it will allow us to create different price levels for events, becoming inclusive for all people.”

UANL Tigres parent company member, Mauricio Doehner:

“Today Tigres is internationally recognised and we are always striving for more,” he said.

“Of course we deserve a new stadium, it will be the headquarters in this new era. Today, Tigres is not only a benchmark in Mexican soccer, but also on an International stadium. The Estadio Universitario has given greatness to Club Tigres and all the fans, we will honour it forever.”

Melbourne Victory names Marnong Estate as Premier Partner

Melbourne Victory has announced Marnong Estate as a Premier Partner for the 2021/22 Isuzu Ute A-League Men's season.

Melbourne Victory has announced Marnong Estate as a Premier Partner for the 2021/22 Isuzu Ute A-League Men’s season.

Marnong Estate is the Official Naming Rights Partner of the A-Lounge, providing its premium wines in the A-Lounge and Corporate Suite Foyers for tasting sessions, as well as in all Melbourne Victory’s Corporate Suite drinks packages.

As one of Melbourne’s biggest wineries, Marnong Estate also has its own boutique accommodation, as well as being able to host weddings and other functions.

Melbourne Victory Managing Director, Caroline Carnegie:

“We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Marnong Estate and bringing a taste of their premium experience to our match days,” she said.

“Marnong Estate is an incredible facility that contributes to the local community by providing an authentic cultural and historical experience and we would love our members and fans to experience the beautiful views, food and wine as they visit Marnong itself.”

Marnong Estate General Manager, Stewart Malone:

“We are very passionate about wine, hospitality, and agriculture. The other thing we are passionate about is football and there is no greater opportunity for us than to partner with Melbourne Victory and their incredible match day experience,” he said.

“We’re excited to promote our premium wine, amazing dining options and the estate’s farm-to-fork facilities in front of one of the most dedicated fan bases in Australia.”

For more on Marnong Estate, you can find it here.

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