Winter Shift: A-Legues Considering Japanese Model for Season Change

The J-League have announced that season will shift from Summer to winter, starting from August 2026. The J-League season currently runs from late February to December, with a 2 week break in the middle of the Japanese summer. The J-League’s winter season will run from mid-August until the final weeks of May, with a mid-season winter break between mid-December to mid-February.

The reasons for the J-League shift from summer to winter is to align the league with the Asian Champions League (ACL) and the European transfer market, as well as reducing the number of games played in the extreme heat of the Japanese Summer. The chairman said. “We’ve focused on playing over the summer, but in the last 30 years, I feel as though we haven’t made enough progress in creating environments that will allow for playing sports during the winter.”

@@The deeper issue, Nonomura said, was that this shift was not just an issue for soccer, but rather a broader sports perspective, which included improving facilities for other sports like rugby and baseball to be played year-round.

Nonomura has emphasized that ¥10 billion (around $100m) would be set aside to support cold-weather clubs in the transition. As many as 500 people were consulted in the deliberation process to determine the best way forward for Japanese soccer, and the chairman put aside the worries of the transition as he said, “When you make big changes, there will never be 100% in favor. It’s because we have those dissenting opinions that we can come up with new ideas and reach better solutions. But even if they disagree, they also want to improve Japanese soccer.”

The J-League has set ambitious targets for the next decade for both the league and the clubs to achieve. However, no specific targets have been set for the A-League, which is currently focused on sustaining itself and fighting for survival. The article raises the possibility of emulating the J-League’s initiatives to ensure the future and success of not just the A-League but also Australian football.