June 22, 2020 / 7:44 AM / 11 days ago

Fans allowed to watch Japanese baseball, soccer from July 10

TOKYO (Reuters) - Supporters will be allowed into stadiums to watch Japan’s top baseball and soccer leagues from July 10, the federations for the country’s two most popular sports leagues said on Monday.

As in most of the rest of the world, Japan’s major sports have been put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, with Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) only beginning last week and J.League soccer to restart on July 4.

The baseball season started without fans in stadiums, in line with Japanese government restrictions, to help reduce the spread of novel coronavirus.

However, NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito and J.League Chairman Mitsuru Murai said spectators will start to be admitted into sports grounds from July 10.

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

There was no mention of how many fans would be allowed to attend.

The government’s current guidelines allow for a gradual increase in the number of spectators at sports events after July 10, but the readmittance of fans had not been previously confirmed.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Richard Pullin

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