Tragic Japan Tsunami Forces Sporting Events to be Cancelled

March 14, 2011

The tragic earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan on Friday has forced the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to postpone Asian Champions League matches in the nation, as well as causing the figure skating World Championships in Tokyo to be cancelled.

Mohamed Bin Hammam, AFC president, stated via Twitter on Sunday that Champions League games scheduled for this week in Nagoya and Kashima would be indefinitely suspended to allow the country time to recover from the devastating disaster.

Nagoya Grampus was due to play United Arab Emirates’ club Al Ain on Tuesday and Kashima Antlers was scheduled to host Australia’s Sydney FC on Wednesday.

Bin Hammam stated: “I want to announce that AFC will postpone AFC Champions League matches in Japan until further notice. AFC will make an announcement after taking stock of the situation in the near future. This is a personal tragedy for me and I feel their pain. My thoughts are with the people of Japan in this very difficult hour.”

The domestic J-League has also been suspended, though the Japan national team’s soccer friendlies against Montenegro on March 25 and New Zealand on March 29 will go ahead. Other sporting events have been called off, including baseball games in Tokyo, Chiba and Yokohama, and a special committee meeting investigating match-fixing in sumo wrestling has also been delayed.

Despite stating on Friday that it had no plans to cancel the figure skating World Championships, due to be hosted in Tokyo on March 21, the International Skating Union (ISU) has since been forced to do so.