American Football International

Japan’s X League Spring tournaments canceled

Not surprisingly, Japan’s X League has canceled the full schedule for the spring tournaments, including the Green Bowl and the Pearl Bowl.

These tournaments typically pit all the teams in the X League in preseason action in different formats. Teams in Eastern Japan compete in the Pearl Bowl while those in the west play in the Green Bowl tournament. In 2019, the Obic Seagulls defeated IBM Big Blue 31-15 to win their third straight Pearl Bowl. Meanwhile, the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers, with Garrett Safron at quarterback, captured the Green Bowl title.

The X League regular season typically kicks off in late August.

The American Football Association of Japan (NFA) will cancel all official spring games scheduled to begin on April 12 (Sun) in response to the spread of the new coronavirus infection.

East Japan = Pearl Bowl Tournament, Pearl Bowl Challenge, Spring Bowl Tournament
West Japan = Green Bowl Tournament, Green Bowl Challenge, Junior Tournament, Kobe Bowl

On March 19, a government expert meeting released a statement on the state of the country and the way in which future measures should be taken, and analyzed that the spread of infection was “holding up, but expansion is seen in some areas”. Large-scale events must be discontinued or postponed if the risk of transmission is not met.

NFA member teams, on the other hand, typically begin training for the new season from mid-February to early March and begin preparing for the spring games. However, this year, mid-February to mid-March, where the foundation of the season should be laid, was affected by the inability to practice, and this is likely to continue in the future.

We have been exploring ways to hold the official spring games as planned, but it is extremely difficult to foresee environmental changes. It has been determined that it is extremely difficult to ensure the safety of the players, staff, and game operations staff.

We sincerely apologize to those who were looking forward to the official spring season, but we hope you understand the situation. We look forward to meeting the difficult situation again and meeting you again at the stadium.

Current situation in Japan

As of March 25, Japan had recorded 1,128 cases of COVID-19 with 42 deaths. These numbers do not include the 712 people on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokohama who had tested positive for the virus. Seven people who were on the ship have died.