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Soccer: J-League considering testing all players before restart

Players from J-League soccer clubs participate in a joint online press conference on May 15, 2020. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The J-League, which suspended play in February, is considering testing all of its players for the novel coronavirus before resuming its season, multiple sources said Thursday.

    The testing idea was discussed at an online meeting of club executives. Such a measure was recommended by infectious disease experts who have been meeting with executives of Japan's pro soccer body and their pro baseball counterparts. The league's players have also submitted a request for testing.

    Since an apprentice sumo wrestler died on May 13 after being infected with the pneumonia-causing virus, the Japan Sumo Association has made antibody testing available to all 900 of its members, including wrestlers and sumo elders.

    To replicate that, the J-League will have to settle on a plan to test members of its 56 teams spread across the length and breadth of Japan, and work out details about the testing methods to be used.

    The J-League's executive committee is expected to decide on Friday to restart its season on either June 27 or July 4.

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