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Michael Olunga celebrates his goal for Kashiwa Reysol against Vissel Kobe. PHOTO/OgadaOlunga/Twitter

Football

Olunga’s Reysol’s Levain Cup final postponed after coronavirus outbreak

TOKYO, Japan, Nov 5 Japan’s Levain Cup football final has been postponed after 13 players and staff at Kashiwa Reysol, including their coach, tested positive for the coronavirus, the J-League said.

Reysol, led by their Brazilian coach Nelsinho Baptista, were due to face FC Tokyo on Saturday at Tokyo’s National Stadium — the main venue for next year’s postponed Olympics — in front of a sold-out, socially distanced crowd of 24,000.

“We decided to cancel (the final) with a view to preventing further spread of infection,” a J-League statement said late Wednesday. A new date is yet to be decided.

Japan has been allowing limited audiences at sports events, but is testing capacity crowds at baseball stadiums with a view to easing current restrictions.

Tokyo is keen to show it can stage large-scale sporting events safely ahead of next year’s Olympic Games. The Nikkan Sports daily reported that Tokyo 2020 organisers had planned to attend the Levain Cup final as observers.

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