March 19, 2020 / 7:23 AM / in 19 days

Soccer-No relegation in Japan top flight this season, says J.League

TOKYO, March 19 (Reuters) - Clubs in Japan's top domestic soccer league have agreed that there will be no relegation this season, the J.League announced on Thursday, with the campaign severely disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The season was only one match old when the decision was made to postpone matches. No fixtures have been played since Feb. 23.

The pandemic has brought the global sporting calendar to a standstill, with top soccer leagues in Europe being put on hold while the Euro 2020 tournament has been delayed until next year.

Organisers of the Tokyo Olympics, however, have insisted they are moving forward with the July 24 start as planned despite concerns about the virus, which has infected more than 212,000 people and killed over 8,700 in 164 nations.

The J.League also announced that if 75% of the campaign is completed then the top two teams in the second and third tiers of Japanese soccer will automatically be promoted.

If the top division, which currently has 18 teams, increases to 20 sides for the 2021 season then the league would feature four relegation spots. (Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Peter Rutherford )

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