Japan’s pro baseball, soccer leagues to admit fans from July 10

TOKYO : Japan’s professional baseball and soccer leagues will allow spectators to attend games from July 10, Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Atsushi Saito and J.League Chairman Mitsuru Murai said Monday.

The 2020 NPB season started behind closed doors on Friday after a nearly three-month delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The J.League first division is scheduled to resume its postponed season on July 4.

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“We have to take the situation into consideration, but I got word from the government that it is OK to announce we can start admitting spectators from July 10,” Saito said following the 10th liaison meeting of the governing bodies to discuss coronavirus countermeasures.

The two leagues were advised by a panel of infectious disease experts to engage in constructive talks about allowing fans back into stadiums after ensuring adequate control over the risk of infection. The government’s current guidelines allow for the gradual increase in the number of spectators at sports events after July 10.

Both leagues have introduced countermeasures to prevent the spread of the pneumonia-causing virus as there remain lingering concerns of a spike in infections across Japan after the country’s state of emergency was fully lifted last month.

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