J-League season breaks for World Cup broadcasts

Japan's new J-League season will kick off on 4 March with an opening clash between title holders Gamba Osaka and runners-up Urawa Reds. The next day there will be eight first-division encounters involving 18 teams. The league will take a long two-month break for the World Cup. Twelve games are on the schedule before 7 May when the first division takes a break until 19 July. The World Cup is from 9 June to 9 July. The second division will kick off on 4 March too with 13 teams meeting each other four times. As this division will not break for the World Cup, it will also conclude its season on 2 December.

Nabisco Cup matches will be held from 29 March to 21 May with the last eight in June, the semifinals in October and the final in November. The Super Cup, the traditional curtain raiser for the J-League, is set for 25 February between Gamba and Emperors’ Cup winners Urawa.