Japan Pro Baseball, Soccer Suspensions Extended

Sports

Tokyo, April 3 (Jiji Press)--The governing bodies for Japan's professional baseball and soccer separately decided Friday to extend suspensions of official matches amid the new coronavirus epidemic.

The moves came after a panel of infectious disease experts said the same day that it is "extremely difficult" to hold official matches in April. The panel put forward the view at a meeting of a joint committee on coronavirus measures set up by the two bodies.

Representatives from the companies operating the 12 teams in the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, or NPB, agreed to give up an earlier plan to start its 2020 regular season on April 24.

They agreed to set a new target date for the season opening in late April or early May, effectively ensuring that official games will not be held before May. "Rather than calming down, the pandemic is growing increasingly worse," NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito said at a press conference. "It is difficult to set the opening date at this point."

NPB plans to keep the starting date of the best-of-seven Japan Series postseason tournament, which has already been set back, at Nov. 21. The number of games each team will play in the regular season is expected to be cut from 143, informed sources said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press