Ulsan Hyundai FC players pose with their K League 1 championship trophy after winning against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at Munsu Football Stadium, Ulsan, Dec. 3.  / Yonhap

It has been talked about for years but last week, Japan’s J. League made an announcement and it is one that will be studied closely in Seoul. From 2026, the league season will not start in February or March and then finish in November and December, but will kick-off in August and run through until May.“ Following the board meeting held today on Tuesday, December 19th, 2023, the J. League has decided to implement a seasonal transition from the 2026/27 season and to continue to consider any remaining issues related to the matter,” a statement from Tokyo read. “This resolution has decided that the 2026/27 season will begin approximately in the first week of August 2026, with a winter break then held from around the second week of December until around the third week of February 2027. The season will then conclude in the final week of May 2027. We will continue to consider any remaining issues in preparation for implementing the seasonal transition.”

Japan has been discussing the move for a long time. The expected benefits are that moving to the schedule that is followed by the major European leagues will align the transfer markets of Japan with those in much of the rest of the world. This should make it easier in many respects in terms of buying and selling players. The major issue has always been that of weather. Winters in northern Japan are cold and full of snow, it is just not possible for teams based there to play. The new schedule will mean a winter break of two months and some of those northern teams are going to face a lot of away games on either side of the break. There are genuine concerns about such a long break. That is almost the same length as the usual gap between seasons.

There is some resistance in Japan to the idea for these reasons. In an ideal situation, Korea would follow suit but the same concerns apply. As the past few days have shown, it is just too cold to play in the middle of the winter. Yet the J. League believes that the conditions in summer, during which games are currently played, are growing worse with more and more matches played in increasingly wet and hot conditions, which makes the games of a lower quality .Bosses insist that the best way to increase revenue and to take the J .League to the elite level is to improve the quality of play. This will increase audiences both those watching overseas and at home and increase revenue .There is a long way to go before it all comes to pass and a lot of discussion still to be had. With Japan making this move, there are sure to be questions asked in the K League too. It may not be the right move for Asia’s oldest professional league but it is a topic that should be discussed. The 카지노 East Asian soccer format is changing.

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