J.League Risking Disaster With Implementation Of New Split-Season Format
The J.League's "decision to revert to a two-stage championship risks setting the Japanese game back by years," according to Andrew McKirdy of the JAPAN TIMES. The J.League on Tuesday "announced that it will implement a new split-season format as of 2015, ending 10 years of single-league competition in a bid to lure back lost fans, sponsors and broadcast revenues." Under the new system, "the champion of the first stage will meet the runnerup of the second and vice versa, with the two winners playing off to determine which team faces the side that finished the season with the most overall points in the championship final." If that sounds confusing on paper, "the reality is likely to be even messier." The chances of the winners and runners-up of each stage and the side with the most overall points being five different teams are practically nonexistent, "and the potential for misunderstanding, anticlimax and discontent is obvious" (JAPAN TIMES, 9/20).