J League: Advantages and Disadvantages of the Autumn/Spring System Snow Country and August Soccer Season Transition Problem and Support Opinions and Considerations

J League

The fall/spring system is always under discussion in the J League. Ever since the opening of the J.League, the trend has been for the season to start in the spring and end at the end of the fall. However, there are many people who are always calling for the introduction of the autumn-spring system, which has been introduced in major leagues in Europe. Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages.


spring and autumn system

The J.League will be held at the end of February with the Xerox Super Cup as a preparatory match, followed by league matches. The ACL is also held, and the spring-autumn system is adopted, with league matches ending in November or early December, and the season ending with the Emperor’s Cup final. This system has been used in the J League season since the league began in 1993. However, since the ACL will change from a spring/autumn system to an autumn/spring system from 2023, wouldn’t it be better for the J League to also switch to an autumn/spring system? A voice has been raised.

Autumn/spring system

The autumn-spring system is a system introduced in major European leagues such as Spain, England, Italy, and Germany. Basically, the season starts in August and ends in May. Finally, the UEFA Champions League final will be held. The world soccer schedule is followed by the World Cup and continental championships such as the Euros. For this reason, there is an increasing number of opinions calling for the introduction of an autumn-spring system in the J.League.

Season timings around the world

For reference, let’s take a look at the timing of the season in various countries around the world. When are the leagues in each country held? Let’s focus on the major leagues where soccer is popular.

spring and autumn systemAutumn/spring system
United States
Faroe Islands

Saudi Arabia
Costa Rica

Many snowy regions have a spring/autumn system.

If you look at the world as a whole, you will see that it is clearly divided. This is greatly influenced by the local climate. For example, most regions in Northern Europe use the spring-autumn system. This makes it difficult to hold league matches in the winter as the pitches are covered with snow. In North America, Canada and other countries have also introduced a spring-autumn system.

South America is divided

On the other hand, in South America, the seasons are divided into autumn/spring system and spring/autumn system. This is because many Latin American leagues use a two-season system. Latin American countries such as Mexico and Costa Rica, which regularly participate in the World Cup, use an autumn-spring system.

Europe’s major leagues are the center of the world

However, the center of the world is still the major leagues of Western Europe, such as Spain, England, Italy, and Germany. Most of the major leagues use the fall-spring system, so it can be said that adopting the fall-spring system has great advantages as it allows for smoother transfers of players. World soccer revolves around these four major leagues.

Advantages of autumn/spring system

So, what are the benefits of adopting an autumn/spring system? As with media news such as sports content, there are still issues that remain, but there are also benefits. An announcement has already been made at the J.League board of directors, and the period has been set for 2026 to 2027 in Japan, and it is expected that the period will continue. I will introduce them in a list. Due to opposition and the problem of snowfall, it is not as easy to travel as it is overseas, so we do not know what will happen in the end.

Easy to move to Europe

The biggest advantage of the fall-spring system is that it is easy to transfer to major European leagues. As you can see from the teams that the current Japanese national team players belong to, the starting lineup is fixed in almost every major league in Europe. Transfers from the J League to major European leagues are now commonplace. If the J.League uses a spring/autumn system, if a player transfers to Europe during the off-season, Europe will be in season. Players are in a situation where they have to rest their bodies in the off-season, but they also have to compete for half a season, which is quite risky.

Able to adapt to ACL schedule

ACL dates have already been migrated. The ACL is the most prestigious tournament among the Asian leagues and is of considerable value to J.League clubs, so by aligning the dates they can take advantage of the tournament. As you can see from the fact that Urawa has become well-known around the world after winning the championship many times, winning the ACL is also an opportunity to raise the club’s name.

Summer games can be avoided

The heat in Japan in 2023 was abnormal. Days with temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius were commonplace from the end of May, and continued into late September. Playing a game like soccer in which players run continuously for 90 minutes in such extreme heat can help protect the lives of the players. Most games are played at night on game days, but daily practices are often held during the day, which is not very beneficial for the players.

Disadvantages of the autumn/spring system

Next, I will tell you about the disadvantages of the autumn/spring system. Regarding the Japanese environment, there is a big problem with snowfall in areas such as Tohoku, so we need to be especially careful from December to February. Although the official decision has been made, preparations are still needed before it can be implemented. The chairman’s press conferences and statements will attract attention. You will need to prepare throughout the year. There is also a winter break, just like in the European leagues.

Effects of snowfall

Japan has a very extreme climate. There is only the ocean around us, but if the wind blows from the north it gets cold all at once, and if the wind blows from the south it gets very hot. In recent years, the temperature difference has become more severe, and spring and autumn are disappearing. Particularly from fall to spring, snowfall makes it difficult to hold games in areas where the J League is located, such as Hokkaido, Fukushima, Niigata, and Toyama. If this happens, the schedule will be disrupted and it will be a hassle to hold the event.

Addition of new players

New graduate players generally graduate in March and join professional clubs in April, but there is a risk that this trend will continue. In the case of the fall/spring system, players will be able to join midway through the season. In Europe, the new semester starts in September for new graduates, so perhaps Japan needs to change that as well.

audience seating problem

Winter in Japan is extremely cold. I often go to watch Emperor’s Cup matches in the winter, but some days it’s so cold that it’s hard to watch. In the case of Japan, the problem is that stadiums do not have roofs, and snow accumulates on the seats, making it impossible to watch games on some days. Furthermore, there are very few indoor stadiums like domes in Japan, so they don’t have heating equipment.

The autumn/spring system will be introduced in August.

The J.League is currently considering introducing an autumn-spring system for games held in August starting with the 2026-2027 season. It will probably open in August and end in May. In recent years, the number of Japanese soccer players moving to Europe has been increasing year by year, which is also contributing to the strengthening of Japanese soccer. With the introduction of the autumn-spring system, it is likely that transfers will become even smoother.

Autumn/Spring System Zombie

In Japan, there are many journalists and supporters who are constantly rehashing the autumn/spring system regarding this event, and the topic always comes back like zombies. When you think you’ve run out of topics, there are many people who always come up with new ideas, so the name “Autumn/Spring System Zombie” has even appeared. In the case of Japan, there are many advantages and disadvantages, and as there are equal numbers of supporters and opponents, it is always a hot topic of debate.

Let’s watch J League

You can watch the match live on the video streaming service introduced in the article below. The J League has thrilling matches every year, so I think even beginners can have a lot of fun.

ChannelPlanSoccer ContentsURL
DAZN\3750national team
major europe leagues
J league
Hulu¥1026french league
dutch league
WOWOW\2530UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
ABEMA TV¥960national team
World Cup
Premier League
scottish league
スカパー¥429 + ¥2480national team
emperor’s cup soccer
J SPORTS\1100fifa world youthJ SPORTS


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