2019 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE Matches to be distributed in more than 140 countries and regions through “Rakuten Sports”
J.LEAGUE announced today that the 2019 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE matches will be available for viewing in more than 140 countries and regions via Rakuten’s new live streaming, video on demand service, Rakuten Sports.
The matches will now be enjoyed by over 150 countries and regions with the start of Rakuten Sports.
The international superstars like Andrés Iniesta (Vissel Kobe) and Fernando Torres (Sagan Tosu) now playing in the league has raised attention from fans around the world, and it was one of the incentives to start the distribution. With the new platform, it enables J.LEAGUE to be enjoyed by a wider international audience.
【Watch 2019 MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE through Rakuten Sports】
2019 MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE（3 matches per round）
Tuesday, 11th June, 2019
More than 140 countries and regions worldwide, excluding the following: Algeria, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Chad, China, Croatia, Djibouti, Egypt, FYR Macedonia, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Macao, Mauritania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Republic of Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Korea, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United States and Yemen.
*More contents are scheduled to be distributed going forward.
【About Rakuten Sports】
Rakuten Sports is a global live streaming, video on demand service that powers the 2019 MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE matches on live and video on demand, and also distributes exclusive video contents about football such as about Andrés Iniesta, who plays for Vissel Kobe, the Rakuten Group’s J1 football club.
＜Reference＞ Countries and regions J.LEAGUE is available through other broadcasters/channels
（as of 11th June, 2019）
|1||i-Cable Sports Limited||Hong Kong|
|2||Cineplex Company Limited (TrueVision)||Thailand|
|3||Teledifusao De Macau S.A (TDM)||Macau|
|4||China Sports Media Limited (CSM)||China|
|5||Measat Broadcasting Network Systems Sdn Bhd (Astro)||Brunei, Malaysia|
|6||United Media SARL (SportKlub)||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,
Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia,
|7||Sportdigital Tv Sende-Und Producktion
|Austria, Germany, Switzerland|
|8||Perform Media Channels (DAZN)||USA, Canada|
MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE 2019 General ticket sales start on June 9 (Sun) at 10:00
The general ticket sales for the MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE 2019 will begin on June 9 (Sun) at 10:00 with dynamic pricing.
【MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE CHALLENGE 2019】
●Title：MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE 2019
●Host：Japan Football Association/Japan Professional Football League
●Organizer：Japan Professional Football League/Kanagawa Football Association
●Title Partner：Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company
・Date 19:00 Friday, July 19, 2019
・Fixture Kawasaki Frontale vs. Chelsea FC
・Venue Nissan Stadium
For detailed ticket information, please visit the dedicated page on jleague.jp
( https://www.jleague.jp/jwc/2019/ )
For English page to buy tickets, please scroll down and visit the page listed in "▪️How to buy tickets ③Inbound Site" below.
※Please press your keys (9♯) in accordance with the audio guidance
※You cannot reserve tickets by calling this number
※Calls from withheld numbers will not be accepted
※0570 numbers are not available for some mobile phones, PHS, CATV and connection phones
※For details, please contact your phone company
※Although Kawasaki Frontale is considered as the home side for this match, Kawasaki Frontale fans are located on the righthand side of the main stand, like a league match at Nissan Stadium.
＜Uniform Set Ticket＞
Please see details here: https://store.jleague.jp/ (in Japanese only)
【Details of each ticket category】
*1 Stamford Bridge Seat
・You can watch the game from the special pitchside seats
・All seats are reserved. Please check the seat number on your ticket
・Even if you apply for tickets for multiple persons, you might not be able to reserve seats next to each other
・Remain seated during the match not to obstruct spectators in Category 3, Category 4 and Family Seats
・While you can re-enter after going to the bathroom, etc., refrain from leaving your seat during the match
・Return to your seat before the kickoff of the second half if you leave your seat during the half-time
・Do not eat or drink on the pitch level (with the exception of water)
・It is forbidden to bring flags, drums or any musical instruments
・Only sports shoes are allowed (You cannot wear leather shoes, or shoes with spikes or high heels)
・Although seats are available even in case of rain, it is forbidden to use umbrellas. In case, please bring a poncho or another kind of rainwear
・For security reasons, the stadium staff might ask you to wait when you try to enter right before the kickoff or during the match.
・The pitch might be watered after the warm-up and/or during the half-time. The water could reach the seats, depending on the wind
・Pictures of the spectators in the pitch-level seats could be used for publicity and business by J.League and/or its clubs (official website, mobile website, etc.) as well as by the other media (broadcasting, TV, newspaper, etc.)
・This ticket cannot be used by preschool children. Please note that the LED signboard might block the view for the children
・You are allowed to support and wear supporting goods of either team
・Please use the wheelchair seat in the main or back stand if you are in a wheelchair
Restriction on cameras
It is forbidden to record videos or audio
Pictures can be taken only for private usage. Other usage (uploading to the Internet, SNS, etc.) is not allowed due to the image rights of players, managers, coaches, etc. It is forbidden to bring a camera with a telephoto lens (which is longer than 100mm), monopod or tripod. Flash pictures are also not allowed
※Use of smartphones, cameras on cell phones, small digital cameras (approx. W110×H75×D40mm) is allowed
*2 Plus One Ticket (4 persons）: A 4-person group ticket available for the price of three Category 4 tickets
*3 Family Seat variations
（1） 2 adults and 1 child (elementary or junior high school student) 3 persons in total
（2） 1 adult and 2 children (elementary or junior high school student) 3 persons in total
（3） 2 adults and 2 children (elementary or junior high school student) 4 persons in total
（4） 1 adult and 3 children (elementary or junior high school student) 4 persons in total
・Please enter in a group
*4 Natsusuta Hodai Seat
・Include all-you-can-drink ticket for 4 persons
・You can drink beer, sour, soft drinks, etc. From the second drink on, you can receive it in exchange for an empty cup
・You might be asked to show your ID card for age verification
*5 Wheelchair Seat
・A parking permit will be issued when you purchase a Wheelchair Seat
・Please show your parking permit at the entrance of the parking space
・You can only park one car for a Wheelchair Seat ticket
・This ticket can be only purchased through J.League Ticket
・This ticket is available from the second J.League Ticket pre-sales starting on May 29 (wed)
・This ticket is available for the same price during the general sales period starting on June 9 (Sun) and during the pre-sale period (Dynamic pricing will not be applied)
●Prices include consumption tax
●Registration for a J.League ID membership is required to purchase tickets through J.League Ticket
●Maximum of 6 tickets per person
●The pre-sales prices apply during the pre-sales and dynamic pricing in the general sales period (Please see the price table)
●Wheelchair Seat and Uniform Set Ticket are available for the fixed price also in the general sales period starting on June 9 (Sun)
●Tickets will not be sold on the matchday if all tickets sell out in advance
●The dynamic prices in the general sales period also apply to the matchday tickets
●You can choose either Kawasaki or Chelsea side when purchasing Premier Seat, Category 1, Category 2, Category 3, Family Seat, Natsusuta Hodai Ticket or Behind-the-Goal Unreserved Seat
●Nursing rooms are located around areas Ｎ11, Ｎ16 and E11
Digital ticket “QR Ticket” with a QR code can be purchased anytime on the internet and there is no need to print out the tickets
For details, visit J.League Ticket （ https://www.jleague-ticket.jp/ (in Japanese only)）
■How to buy tickets
＜General Sales ※First come, first served. Dynamic pricing＞
June 9, 2019 (Sun) 10：00-
|①J.League Ticket||Available with dynamic pricing at
|② Ticket Pia||◎Internet https://t.pia.jp/
◎Mobile phone https://t.pia.jp/p/
※Registration (free) is required to purchase tickets
|② Ticket Pia||0570-02-9999（Automatic audio reservation/24 hours）
※Closed between 2:30 and 5:30 on Tuesday and Wednesday for maintenance
※Calls from withheld numbers will not be accepted 【Ｐ-code：843-019】
|② Ticket Pia||Available at Ticket Pia stores and 7-Eleven around the country
|③ English Ticket Site||Available with dynamic pricing at
（※）What is Dynamic Pricing?
Predicting the needs for each match based on big data analysis regarding fixtures, ticket types, market condition, weather, personal preference, etc., dynamic pricing enables fans to purchase tickets at proper prices by automatically adjusting them according to the situation. Depending on when the purchase takes place, prices could change. Please check the latest prices before purchasing tickets. The prices are adjusted by the price-calculating technology of Dynamic Plus Co., Ltd, based on the ticket sales of similar matches in the past as well as during this sales period. Prices could be lower or higher than the pre-sales prices. In case the match is cancelled or postponed and a refund is due, the amount returned will be equal to the price paid when tickets were purchased. Change or cancellation of an order is not possible after purchasing the tickets.
【Contact】Ｊ.League Public Relations Department（TEL：03-3830-1866／FAX：03-3830-1910）
Kawasaki Frontale face five-time English Premier League champions Chelsea FC in the MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE 2019!
Kawasaki Frontale will face five-time English Premier League champions Chelsea FC in the MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE 2019 at Nissan Stadium on July 19 (Fri).
The J.League has organized the MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE 2019 as an invitational “J.LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL SERIES” of matches between J1 clubs and world-class clubs from abroad. The J.LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL SERIES has the purpose of creating opportunities for J.League clubs to gain international experience and for as many people as possible to enjoy exceptional football. The kick-off time, broadcasting arrangements, ticket sales and more details will be announced in due course.
Overview of the MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE 2019
■Title: MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE 2019
■Host: Japan Football Association/Japan Professional Football League
■Organizer: Japan Professional Football League
■Title Partner: Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company
・Date: Fri. 19 July, 2019
・Fixture: Kawasaki Frontale vs. Chelsea FC
・Stadium: Nissan Stadium
J.League Chairman Mitsuru Murai
“For the first time in two years, we are hosting the MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE. This year J.League has introduced an increased number of foreign slots and we are challenging the clubs to have higher competitiveness. We believe that this competition is needed to introduce the international standards to J.League. As a club suitable for the purpose of this match, we have invited one of the most prestigious European clubs, five-time English Premier League champions and former UEFA Champions League winners, Chelsea FC. I’m excited to see how defending J.League champions Kawasaki Frontale will play against Chelsea FC. As a representative of the J.Leauge clubs, I expect them of good results in the form of a victory. This tournament’s title partner is Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company, who makes a significant contribution to J.League and its clubs as a top partner and title partner, and always supports J.League’s principles; enhancement of the standard of Japanese football, sports culture as well as interaction and friendship in the international community. We appreciate their further support to realize our third principle of international interaction and friendship, and we’re determined to make this competition worthy of their support.”
Kawasaki Frontale player Yu Kobayashi
“I’m excited to play against world-famous Chelsea FC as a representative of J.League, and I think they are wonderful opponents to test our football with. We all know their players, and it is needless to say that they are world-class players. Previously we played against Borussia Dortmund and we were overwhelmed by them. This time, we would like to show our pride as a Japanese club, and as the J.League champions. I think the stadium will be filled not only with Frontale fans but also with people who want to watch Chelsea. We also want them to see how we play and turn them into Frontale fans. It would be great if this match could make people feel that J.League’s football is fun and entertaining. I want to thank Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company and J.League for giving us this amazing opportunity. We will do our best!”
Chelsea FC chairman Bruce Buck
“We are very pleased to be able to confirm the details of this first match we have announced in our pre-season schedule, with more dates to come in the forthcoming weeks. It is going to be an exciting summer for the club and we are looking forward to working closely with our valued partners at The Yokohama Rubber Company to make this a visit to remember. We are delighted to be returning to Japan after almost seven years and we also thank the J.League for their cooperation in organising the game. We are sure Kawasaki Frontale will provide high-level opposition at a noisy and passionate International Stadium as we prepare for the season ahead.”
Chelsea Football Club (England)
Home town: London
Stadium: Stamford Bridge
Club color: Blue
5th in the English Premier League, FA Cup winners
6th in the English Premier League (As of March 20), UEFA Europa League quarter-finalists (In progress)
English Premier League champions 5 times
English FC Cup winters 8 times
English League Cup winner 5 times
UEFA Champions League winners 1 time
UEFA Europa League winners 1 time
Founded in 1905 in West London, Chelsea FC won the English Football League (current Premier League) for the first time in 1954-55, and FA Cup in 1970. The club, known as “the Blues” due to its kit color, flourished in 1990s and won the UEFA Super Cup in 1998, beating Real Madrid. After current owner Roman Abramovich took over in 2003, Chelsea FC celebrated its 100th anniversary with their first Premier League trophy in 2004-05 under manager José_Mourinho, and defended the title next season. In 2011-12, the club won the UEFA Champions League for the first time and became one of the European powerhouses. They visited Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup 2012 as the European champions and became runners-up after losing to South American champions Corinthians. The current squad includes Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard, who faced the Japan national team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and many other national team players such as Spain striker Pedro, France midfielder N'Golo Kanté, Brazil midfielder Willian and defender David Luiz. Fernando Torre, currently at Sagan Tosu, also played for them in 2011-2014.
J.LEAGUE promotes the construction of “J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI”, Japan's first full-fledged sports digital asset hub, with the aim of providing new sports watching experiences through video and further expanding its video related business.
March 14, 2019
Japan Professional Football League (J.LEAGUE)
J.LEAGUE Media Promotion Inc.
In the 2019 season, the J.LEAGUE will begin constructing a digital asset hub, commonly known as the "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI". With this hub, all digital assets such as video content, still images, and stats data, including J.LEAGUE copyrighted game images, can be aggregated and centrally managed for production, editing, supply, and distribution. Based on the existing J.LEAGUE Archive Center, we will build a state-of-the-art environment that combines various types of clouds, such as public clouds, combined with on-premises software. We will also optimize the network, including aggregation and distribution, to ensure scalability for use in domestic sports other than J.LEAGUE.
The J.LEAGUE uses the "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI" to create content that contributes to improving fan and supporter satisfaction and attracting new fans both in Japan and abroad, to take on the challenge of expanding content sales revenues overseas with the increase in the number of foreign players, and to use the centralized digital assets to improve football tactics and competitiveness in the J.LEAGUE.
At the same time, we will provide our functions and business know-how to sports leagues and organizations in Japan. We also aim to contribute to the development of Japan's sports industry by making the "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI" a venue for concrete collaboration with businesses that possess cutting-edge technologies related to imaging and ICT. We are also considering to establish a system for "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI "aiming that J.LEAGUE’s digital assets will be used not only in each club’s activities in their hometown as part of the platform for social cooperation activities that J.LEAGUE promotes, but also in various activities of local communities.
As an official technology partner of the J.LEAGUE, the NTT Group will continue to support the development of the environment and operation and to improve the efficiency of video production by introducing the Group's cutting-edge ICT technologies, such as 5G and AI, video and audio technologies, as well as its expertise in video services, into the J.LEAGUE's video shooting, production and editing processes in order to realize "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI". In addition, we will provide network services and video and audio services in order to realize video related services utilizing the "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI". We will also provide the videos to an even greater variety of viewers and spectators by automatically adding multilingual subtitles and analysis data on it.
In the 'Sports Future Development Council Interim Report' (June 2016) announced by the Japan Sports Agency and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, policies are being implemented to expand Japan's sports industry to a market size of ¥10.9 trillion (About twice the amount in 2012) in 2020 and ¥15.2 trillion (About 3 times the amount in 2012) in 2025. In the professional sports field particular, it is expected to expand by several 100 billion yen. The provision of new sports watching styles using video and the further growth of video related businesses will stimulate demand in the sports field widely, and may lead to the development of overseas markets and an increase in the number of inbound tourists from overseas.
The J.LEAGUE aims to increase revenues from broadcasting rights under overseas broadcasting rights contracts from 2020 and increase the number of viewers worldwide. One of the pillars of J.LEAGUE's overseas and Asian strategies is to provide footage that shows the performance of foreign players with their home countries. By using this video to increase opportunities for J.LEAGUE partner companies and club home towns to be recognized overseas through video, we will support their overseas expansion. In addition, the use of centralized video assets enables the J.LEAGUE and its clubs to hold new spectating and cheering events that are not limited to home stadiums or official games, and thus can be expected to secure revenues from admission fees that exceed the existing frame and to expand the fan base. As international sports events will be held in Japan in 2019 and 2020, there is a concern that there could be a shortage of stadium capacity and therefore a decline in entrance fee revenues.
However, there is a possibility that a new form of entertainment that makes full use of digital technology will make up for this. It may also be one of the concrete measures to achieve the goal of 24,000 visitors (19,064 in the 2018 season) per 1 game of J1 LEAGUE in 2030 seasons.
1. New Initiatives with the NTT Group Utilizing J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI
Ⅰ Audience and fan services
- High presence, high value added watching experience space "Digital Stadium (Preliminary)" -
The J.LEAGUE will use digital technology to challenge "New way of watching games "Digital Stadium (Preliminary)"" and expand opportunities to watch games.
When we do this, we will take into account the issue of stadium accessibility and the shortage of stadium capacity due to the influence of international sports events in 2019 and 2020. "Digital Stadium (Preliminary)" is a space in which actual games played in a stadium are reproduced in real time in a comfortable indoor facility away from the stadium using various digital technologies, and spectators and supporters can watch and cheer as if they were in the stadium. Because the stadium can be staged differently from conventional stadiums, it is a new type of viewing experience space with a high-presence and high-value-added style that provides various services to meet the diversifying needs of spectators, such as various hospitality services and luxurious viewing experiences utilizing images and data.
The "Digital Stadium (Preliminary)" will also provide new opportunities for people with disabilities or family members who have difficulty attending existing stadiums due to travel restrictions and time and travel costs.
J.LEAGUE plans to hold an event as a prototype of the "Digital Stadium (Preliminary)" focusing on high-definition and high-presence live viewing of the following official game footage at an indoor facility in Tokyo.
5/12 (Sun) 14:00 Kickoff: MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE 11th Section
Vissel Kobe vs Kashima Antlers @ NOEVIR Stadium Kobe
Ⅱ Tactical analysis service for clubs
- Live service of game video and performance data for clubs "LIVE SCOUTER" -
The tactical analysis tool "LIVE SCOUTER" in the technical area during the game will be provided to the J1 Club from the 5th Section of MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE on Friday, March 29, 2019.
So far, the J.LEAGUE's official game scouting footage (overhead view of the game) has been provided to club reinforcements after the game. From now on, the video will be uploaded to the cloud during the game, and will be provided as a video service that allows the director and staff to look back at the game using applications on the tablet during halftime or during the game. When club reinforcement staff directly access the cloud, it is possible to attach necessary tag information to the scouting video, so you can check the performance data of the game along with the video.
Until now, coaches have used whiteboards and words to look back on tactics and give instructions, but with this service, they can give more specific instructions to players while referring to actual players' movements and the flow of the game.
For 2019 season, the service is used only in J1.
[potential for further development]
・Information services for spectators and viewers
Assuming that there will be no impact on the tactics and strengthening of each club, we will consider using it together with rights holders as a service for general spectators and viewers.
We will consider providing services to reporters, broadcasters and commentators.
・Training Support Services
We will consider a scheme that can be used by youth teams of clubs, training academies, and amateur sports organizations.
Ⅲ Audience Services
- New viewing experience using xR technology -
We will create and provide new video services using xR technologies such as VR based on digital assets aggregated in "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI".
[Service Image (Example)]
Game-watching service in VR space
This service converts images taken from a panoramic view of the field in the stadium where matches are being held or from special viewpoints such as the back of the goal into VR images, providing a new spectator experience as if watching a game on the pitch side of the stadium.
The following 3 games of MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE will be provided.
3/10 (Sun) 3rd Section Vegalta Sendai vs Vissel Kobe
3/17 (Sun) 4th Section Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo vs Kashima Antlers
3/30 (Sat) 5th Section Oita Trinita vs Sanfrecce Hiroshima
This content is provided by NTT DOCOMO, Inc. under a sublicense from DAZN as "docomo Sports VR powered by DAZN". (Press release by NTT DOCOMO, INC., on March 8, 2019)
2．Further development in the future
J.LEAGUE plans to develop the initiative utilizing "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI" as open innovation with NTT Group and other partners.
Ⅰ Utilization for improving competitiveness
The "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI" environment allows for Central VAR (Video Assistant Referee) * 1. The VAR was adopted at 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ and will be adopted in some official games in the J.LEAGUE 2019 season.
Aiming for advanced and efficient competition management with VAR, we will start demonstration of aggregated VAR * 2 * 2 in 2019 seasons* 3.
*1 A VAR is an umpire in charge of assisting the referee, and only in "clear and obvious errors" or "serious missed incidents" situations, he umpire contacts the referee based on information from the replay footage.
*2 Central VAR: Instead of sending an AR to each match venue, the game video is collected in one place in this method.
*3 The introduction of VAR for the 2020 season has not been decided.
Ⅱ Expand the content of overseas and domestic news videos
J.LEAGUE will provide our content to a wide range of overseas markets by providing subtitles in foreign languages and computer graphics on the "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI" and producing individual player videos of foreign players. In addition, we will take up the challenge of developing a new means of video distribution in consideration of an overseas broadcasting rights contract from 2020.
In addition, separate from the edited relay video, the video data recorded by the individual camera is transmitted to the "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI" for editing and processing before being distributed as news material for domestic and overseas broadcasting stations. In addition, by combining AI with digital assets on "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI", it becomes possible to automatically produce highlight clip movies or clip movies of individual players.
Ⅲ Digital transformation of the video production process.
Various images taken in the stadium, including images taken by multiple cameras for the production of J.LEAGUE's official images (production of relay images), are consolidated into "J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI".
At the same time, the following measures will be considered.
Broadcast video production away from the stadium (Remote Production)
Beginning in the 2019 season, source images from cameras taken in games at stadiums will be aggregated into “J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI”, and live video production will be demonstrated at sites away from stadiums.
*A demonstration experiment was conducted in October 2018, and we have confirmed that we can produce video equivalent to existing broadcast video.
Automatic shooting and editing at stadiums (Smart Production)
J.LEAGUE has begun to demonstrate automatic tracking shooting and automatic editing using an AI-equipped camera. Preparations for the implementation will start in the 2019 season, considering the introduction of the system in official games and the application of the system to games of the J.LEAGUE's growing age that have not been broadcast in the past.
The chairman of the Japan Professional Football League (J.LEAGUE), Mitsuru Murai
In recent years, the J.LEAGUE has produced its own videos of the league games and acquired its own production copyright. We also introduced the "tracking system" which enables us to obtain the running-distance data of athletes. This is creating an environment in which we can provide more attractive images and data to our customers. Remarkable advances in technology have created a strong need for images and data, and there is a need to provide them in a variety of forms, rather than in a uniform manner. Also, the success of Chanatip and Iniesta has increased demand for J.LEAGUE video not only in Japan but also in other Asian countries, Europe and the United States. In this context, I am pleased to announce today the creation of “J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI”.
We, the J.LEAGUE, together with the NTT Group and various other partners, are promoting the establishment of the “J.LEAGUE FUROSHIKI” and will expand our services so that they can be used not only for football but also for many other sports and cultural activities, thereby contributing to the J.LEAGUE principles of "To raise the level of Japanese football and promote the diffusion of the game through the medium of professional football" "To foster the development of Japan's sporting culture, to assist in the healthy mental and physical growth of Japanese people" and "To contribute to international friendship and exchange".
President and CEO of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, Jun Sawada
I am pleased to be able to support the new efforts of J.LEAGUE.
I am confident that digital transformation in the field of imaging will lead to the presentation of Japan's original form of smart sports to the world. This will enable us to rediscover the attractiveness of our players and plays, and lead the development of Japan's sports industry through domestic and international communication.
It will also enable us to realize a smart stadium that connects with local communities. The NTT Group will support the realization of the J.LEAGUE "FUROSHIKI" with its cutting-edge digital technology, and continue to contribute to the development of the J.LEAGUE and the sports industry through digital marketing and the use of ICT in stadiums.
J.LEAGUE Public Relations Department TEL: 03-3830-1866/FAX: 03-3830-1910
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Relations Office TEL: 03-5205-5550
Chairman’s New Year Message
Happy New Year 2019!
On behalf of my family and everyone at J.LEAGUE, I would like to extend our best wishes and convey our appreciation to fans & supporters for your backing throughout the 2018 season.
The new J.LEAGUE season will start on 16 February with the FUJI XEROX SUPER CUP, followed by the MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE kicking off on 22 February and the J.LEAGUE YBC Levain CUP getting underway on 6 March.
Reflecting on last year, we look forward to the new season with high anticipation, with 55 clubs spread over 39 prefectures of Japan and ready to face each other in J1, J2 and J3. Moreover, J.LEAGUE and the J clubs are committed to working closely with the community to further enrich the culture of enjoying sports in Japan.
Once again, thank you for all the loyal support you have given us and we hope you all have a happy and healthy 2019!
J.LEAGUE and Thai League to host 2019 J.LEAGUE ASIA CHALLENGE in Thailand
J.LEAGUE, in cooperation with Thai League, will host “2019 J.LEAGUE ASIA CHALLENGE in Thailand” on January 26th and 27th. The competition is part of the J.LEAGUE Asian Strategy and it has been held since 2017. Being held for the third time, the competition will be in Thailand, where we signed a partnership agreement with the Thai League in 2012. From Japan, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo and Sanfrecce Hiroshima will participate.
-Competition Overview -
■Competition Name:2019 J.LEAGUE ASIA CHALLENGE in THAILAND
■Organizer：Japan Professional Football League (J.LEAGUE), Thai League
■Partners:Mizuno Corporation, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Molten Corporation
|18:00||Chonburi FC||vs||Sanfrecce Hiroshima||Chonburi
*There is 2 hour time difference between Thailand and Japan (e.g. Thailand 18:00, Japan 20:00)
Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo (2018 Meiji Yasuda J1 LEAGUE season ranked 4th)
Sanfrecce Hiroshima (2018 Meiji Yasuda J1 LEAGUE ranked 2nd)
Bangkok United FC (2018 Thai League 1 ranked 2nd)
Chonburi FC (2018 Thai League 1 ranked 9th)
in Thailand: True4U, True Vision
in Japan: TBD
*Further details on competition format and broadcasting to be announced as soon as decided.
Tokyo close Sanfrecce gap to five points
Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s inconsistent start to the second half of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League season continued with a 2-2 draw against Shonan Bellmare on Sunday.
Hiroshi Jofuku’s men saw their lead at the top of the table cut to five points after Takuya Wada’s own-goal in stoppage-time saw Sanfrecce, who had fought back from Ryogo Yamasaki’s shock opener via Patric and Yoshifumi Kashiwa strikes, held at the death.
This allowed FC Tokyo to move closer to the summit as they saw off Vissel Kobe 1-0 via Lins’ 90th-minute winner, taking full advantage of Andres Iniesta’s absence for the visitors.
Fernando Torres’s fitness levels, meanwhile, keep improving as he was only take off in the 94th-minute of Sagan Tosu’s 1-0 win over Cerezo Osaka, sealed by Yutaka Yoshida’s early strike.
Nagoya Grampus saw out a belting 3-2 win over Gamba Osaka, fighting back from two goals down to take all three points as Jo’s hat-trick led the comeback, as Jubilo Iwata beat Vegalta Sendai by the same scoreline.
Daigo Nishi’s last-gasp winner was enough to see Kashima Antlers climb to sixth with a 1-0 result over Shimizu S-Pulse, while Jay Bothroyd’s equaliser was not enough for Consadole Sapporo to secure a draw against Kashiwa Reysol as the hosts surrendered 2-1.
V-Varen Nagasaki managed to hold Urawa Reds to a 0-0 stalemate - enough to see them leapfrog Yokohama F. Marinos in the table as the latter succumbed 2-0 to champions Kawasaki Frontale following Yu Kobayashi’s double.
Fernando Torres joins Sagan Tosu
Sagan Tosu on Tuesday announced the signing of former Spain international Fernando Torres, who will wear the No. 9 shirt for the Kyushu side.
Torres launched his professional career in 2000 at Atletico Madrid, joining Liverpool in 2007. After playing for Chelsea and AC Milan, he re-joined Atletico in the summer of 2015.
A multitalented striker with both speed and finishing, he’s known for his superb play both off the post and in the air.
After scoring 24 goals in his debut season with Liverpool, he placed third in the 2008 Ballon D’Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
In 2008 he was a key member of Spain’s squad at the UEFA Euro 2008, scoring the game-winning goal against Germany in the final and leading his nation to the title.
Rectificación: Artículo publicado en la página oficial de J-league
El día de hoy ha aparecido un artículo erróneo sobre la incorporación de un nuevo jugador a la plantilla de Sagan Tosu en la página oficial de J-League.
Pedimos nuestras sinceras disculpas al equipo, a los seguidores y a todas las personas involucradas.
En estos momentos estamos intentando averiguar el motivo de este incidente para que no vuelva a ocurrir de nuevo.
【Apology】Regarding the J.League official website
Today on the official website of the J.League, a page containing incorrect information regarding a player joining Sagan Tosu was made viewable. Our sincere apologies goes to the Sagan Tosu club, everybody involved with the club, fans and supporters for any inconvenience this may have caused. We are currently investigating what caused this error and we will do our very best to prevent this from happening again.
Spanish International midfielder Andres Iniesta arrives to Japan after signing with Kobe!【Press Conference Report】
On 24 May, Vissel Kobe has announced that they have agreed to sign Spanish International midfielder Andres Iniesta. A press-conference was held on the same day with Vissel Kobe Chairman Hiroshi Mikitani and Iniesta sharing the podium.
During the question and answer session, he explained what made him decide to sign with Kobe and what he likes about Japan.
“Today is a very special day. This is a significant challenge for me. My family is very happy for this opportunity to come to Japan. We would like to progress within this project. I will like to devote myself to spread not only this club, but J.League throughout Asia. Japan is one of my favorite counties. I will like to get used to the Japanese culture as soon as possible. “
--What do you think of Japanese football?
“I respect Japanese football, including the players. My impression of Japanese football is that, the skill level is at a high level and the players uses their head. They also utilize combinations. I am very familiar with the J.League and the Japan National Team. I am here in Japan to display my football, and by doing so, I sincerely hope that it will help the overall development of Japanese football. “
--What made you decide to play in Japan, and for Vissel Kobe?
“I was blessed with many offers. The reason I chose Kobe over the other offers was that I was very interested in the project presented by them. They have also showed great amount of trust for me. I think Japan is a great country and their culture is wonderful as well. I hope to get used to the country and contribute to the team.”
--What do you like about Japan?
“Everything. I love the people here. I think it is important for me to get used to the culture as soon as possible.”
U-17 J.League Selection to contest ABN Amro Future Cup
The J.League and Japan Football Association on Friday announced a squad of U-17 J.League academy players who will travel to Amsterdam later this month in order to participate in the AMB Amro Future Cup for a second straight year.
The tournament, which is hosted at Ajax’s Toekomst training facility, features you sides from eight countries. Japan will be grouped with Anderlecht (Belgium), Juventus (Italy), and Sevilla (Spain).
12 J.League academies are represented in the squad of 18 players, including four selections from Yokohama F. Marinos and two each from Kashiwa Reysol, Nagoya Grampus, and Kyoto Sanga.
In addition to a test against world-class youth competition, the camp will give players a chance to interact with foreign cultures as part of their personal development.
Miki Sato named J.League Honourary Manager
The J.League have announced the promotion of Miki Sato to the post of Honourary Manager following three years of service as the league’s Female Manager.
Sato has actively participated in the J.League public relations efforts since her appointment in 2015, visiting the home stadiums of all 54 clubs and making countless media appearances in her efforts to promote the league.
“In the three years since I started in 2015 with absolutely no knowledge of football, I have visited every home stadium and conducted media appearances in each prefecture,” Sato said.
“That experience has made me a fan of the J.League “The players, fans, staff, and communities have moved me with their passion.
I want to thank everyone involved with the J.League and all of the clubs for their support. I promise to continue to spread awareness of the J.League and increase the number of football fans in Japan.”
Kashiwa Stadium changes name
The home stadiums of Kashiwa Reysol and Renofa Yamaguchi will adapt new names for the 2018 MEIJI YASUDA J.League season and beyond as a result of new naming rights deals.
Hitachi Kashiwa Stadium will be known as SANKYO FRONTIER Kashiwa Stadium through the 2020 season.
Meanwhile, Ishin Memorial Park Stadium will be renamed Ishin Me-Life Stadium through the 2022 season.
J.League announces 2018 Opening Schedule
The J.League on Friday announced its opening slate of matches for the 2018 MEIJI YASUDA J1, J2 and J3 League seasons.
In a first, the opening match of the J1 season will take place on Friday, February 23, between Sagan Tosu and Vissel Kobe.
This will mark the start of a new strategy to hold regular Friday-night matches in an effort by the J.League to attract new fans and provide new forms of weeknight entertainment to local communities.
Kickoff times and the full season schedule will be announced on Thursday, January 24.
The following are the scheduled home openers for the 2018 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League:
Friday, February 23 (Round 1)
Sagan Tosu vs. Vissel Kobe (Best Amenity Stadium)
Saturday, February 24 (Round 1)
FC Tokyo vs. Urawa Reds (Ajinomoto Stadium)
Shonan Bellmare vs. V-Varen Nagasaki (BMW Stadium)
Gamba Osaka vs. Nagoya Grampus (Suita Stadium)
Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs. Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo (Edion Stadium)
Sunday, February 25 (Round 1)
Vegalta Sendai vs. Kashiwa Reysol (Yurtec Stadium)
Shimizu S-Pulse vs. Kashima Antlers (IAI Stadium Nihondaira)
Jubilo Iwata vs. Kawasaki Frontale (Ecopa Stadium)
Cerezo Osaka vs. Yokohama F. Marinos (Yanmar Stadium Nagai)
Friday, March 2 (Round 2)
Kashiwa Reysol vs. Yokohama F. Marinos (Kashiwa Stadium)*
Kawasaski Frontale vs. Shonan Bellmare (Todoroki Stadium)
Saturday, March 3 (Round 2)
Kashima Antlers vs. Gamba Osaka (Kashima Stadium)
Nagoya Grampus vs. Jubilo Iwata (Toyota Stadium)
Vissel Kobe vs. Shimizu S-Pulse (Noevir Stadium)
V-Varen Nagasaki vs. Sagan Tosu (Transcosmos Stadium)
Saturday, March 4 (Round 2)
Urawa Reds vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Saitama Stadium)
Saturday, March 10 (Round 3)
Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo vs. Shimizu S-Pulse (Sapporo Dome)
Yokohama F. Marinos vs. Sagan Tosu (Nippatsu Mitsuzawa Stadium)
A new year message from J.LEAGUE Chairman Mitsuru Murai
I would like to begin by wishing a happy New Year to everyone in the J.League family.
2018 is a World Cup year, but ahead of that will be the February 24 kickoff of the MEIJI YASUDA J.League. Last season, new champions were born in a dramatic final day of action. I look forward to seeing what excitement the new season brings.
May 15 will mark the 25th anniversary of the first J.League match. From 10 clubs in 1993, the J.League has expanded to 54 clubs in 38 prefectures. But even despite that progress, our philosophy toward raising a healthy sports culture throughout Japan remains unchanged. Together with our member clubs, we continue to strive toward our goal of improving the image of the J.League both on and off the pitch.
Thank you for your support at stadiums across Japan in the coming year.
J.League Asia Challenge travels to Indonesia in 2018
The J.League has announced the 2018 J.League Asia Challenge in Indonesia, which will take place in next month to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Japan-Indonesia relations.
On January 27, fans in Jakarta will have a chance to watch domestic champions Bhayangkara FC take on FC Tokyo, who finished 13th in the 2017 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League campaign.
The venue and kickoff time for the match, as well as ticketing information, will be announced at a later date.
The event will be the second edition of the Asia Challenge, following last year’s inaugural tournament in Thailand which featured Kashima Antlers and Yokohama F. Marinos.
Thai star Teerasil joins Sanfrecce Hiroshima for 2018 season
Sanfrecce Hiroshima have announced the signing of Thai striker Teerasil Dangda on a one-year loan from Muangthong United.
The 29-year-old boasts over 100 goals in over appearances for the Thai League 1 side, as well as 42 goals in 91 appearances for Thailand’s national team.
Teerasil won the SEA Games as well as ASEAN Football Championship with the War Elephants, and seeks to inject a winning mentality into Sanfrecce.
“I’m incredibly happy to join Sanfrecce Hiroshima and excited for my first J.League challenge,” the former Manchester City player said.
“The league has a lot of technically-gifted players and I want to raise my play to that level and help Thai football improve.”
2018 J.League schedule announced as promotion playoff revised
The J.League on Tuesday confirmed the general schedule for all major competitions in the 2018 season.
The MEIJI YASUDA J1 League will open on February 24 and conclude on December 1, including a break from mid-May to July to accommodate the 2018 FIFA World cup.
The MEIJI YASUDA J2 League will run from February 25 to November 17 without a World Cup break.
The J1 Promotion Playoff will be replaced by the new J1 Participation Playoff, featuring J1-eligible J2 clubs between third and sixth place as well as the J1’s 16th-place finisher.
That playoff will take place on November 25, December 2, and December 8.
The MEIJI YASUDA J3 League will open on March 10 and conclude on December 2.
The 2018 J.League YBC Levain Cup will use a similar format to this year’s; the group stage taking place between March 7 and May 16, while the playoff stage will occur on June 2 and 9.
The knockout stage will feature a September quarterfinal and October semifinal, with the date of the final still to be determined.
The FUJI XEROX SUPER CUP 2018 will take place on February 10, featuring J.League champions Kawasaki Frontale against the winners of the Emperor’s Cup.
J.League to recognise ex-players Ichikawa & Oshima
The J.League will recognise former players Daisuke Ichikawa and Hideo Oshima for their career achievements at the 2017 J.League Awards after a decision by the league’s board of directors this week.
Ichikawa - a defender who spent 13 seasons at Shimizu S-Pulse before playing for Ventforet Kofu, Mito Hollyhock and Fujieda MYFC - earned well over 400 club appearances in addition to representing Japan at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Oshima, who had over 200 appearances each in the J1 and J2 Leagues, played for a number of clubs including Yokohama Flugels, Kyoto Sanga, Yokohama F. Marinos, Albirex Niigata and Consadole Sapporo.
The J.League Awards will take place on December 5 at Yokohama Arena.