On the 20th, Meiji Yasuda Seimei J1 League Urawa Reds issued a statement titled “Regarding the venue of the match for the 2022 ACL Final Round 2”. The club’s commitment to hosting the second leg of the AFC Champions League Final at Saitama Stadium 2002 was praised. On the other hand, the government and the Japan Football Association (JFA) have been criticized for the postponement of the renovation works of the stadium and the last Asian qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar took place in January. and February of this year.
Urawa Red Diamonds earned the right to participate in the ACL this season by winning the Emperor’s Cup last season. After going through the Eastern Division group stage with 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss, they beat Johor (Malaysia 1st Division), BG Pathum United (Thailand 1st Division) and Jeonbuk Hyundai (Korea 1st Division) in the tournament. final held in Japan.
In particular, in the semi-final against Jeonbuk Hyundai which was held at Saitama Stadium 2002, Urawa Red Diamonds fans gave strong support when Danish striker Casper Junker (28) equalized the score at the 120th minute just before the end of the second half of extra time. There was also a 3-1 win on penalties.
The first leg of the ACL Finals will take place on February 19 next year and the second leg will take place on February 26 at the home of Urawa Red Diamonds. However, the venue for the second leg is undecided at this time as it overlaps with when the turf will be replaced at Saitama Stadium 2002.
Among them, Urawa Reds announced a progress report at the venue of the game. “Holding the ACL Final at Saitama Stadium 2002 (Saitama Stadium) and winning the championship is the wish of everyone who loves the Urawa Reds, and that passion as a club has not changed. During the new half- ACL Finals, many fans and supporters created the atmosphere of “THIS IS Saitama” by making the most of their home advantage.”
“That’s why the players were able to warm up, run and fight. The club wants to create and fight with fans and supporters in the ACL final. Saitama Prefecture and related parties We coordinate with Saitama Prefecture”, and clarified the details of the negotiations with Saitama Prefecture as follows.
“In response to the team’s decision to qualify for the ACL Finals, we have requested the representative of Saitama Prefecture to postpone the turf renovation of Saitama Stadium in accordance with the request of the Japan Football Association. (JFA). In order to hold the ACL finals at the stadium, we polled that the implementation period would be postponed for one year. However, the prefectural government officially replied, “As the construction preparations are already in progress, it is not possible to extend the timetable.
“Like this time, when the JFA approached us, we were able to push back the construction site for a year while the preparations were underway, so we would like to continue the negotiations. As early as November 2021, when the prefectural governor replied that he was possible to cooperate when holding the event, the ACL final was to be held in November 2022 as before, so the club would have to take action in advance, it was impossible.”
“We requested that the construction start in March 2023, i.e. after the final, or to shorten the construction period. Considering the fact that most of the season will be unusable and the shortening of the period of construction, the planned renovation work is not limited to the replacement of the lawn, but it is a full-scale repair work that includes the replacement of the soil temperature control system, so it is physically difficult There was an official response that it would be impossible to shorten the construction period.
“From the head of Saitama Prefecture, we have already agreed that we and Saitama Prefecture will carry out the turf renovation works of Saitama Stadium in March 2022, from the end of the 2022 season to mid- April 2023. With the explanation assuming it’s already finished, as mentioned above, there was an official response that it couldn’t be handled.
“Even after receiving the response from the prefectural staff, the club continues to consider measures to increase the possibility of holding the final match at Saitama Stadium. Considering the strength of the management, the Urawa Reds cannot do so. overthrow by their own efforts. We will continue to seek a way to hold the ACL Finals at Saitama Stadium, not only with the club, but also with the fans and supporters. I will continue
“Along with the above negotiations, Urawa Red Diamonds has sent a request to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to change the ACL Finals schedule, with the cooperation of JFA President Kozo Tashima and the J League President Yoshikazu Nonomura In order to become the third Asian champion in the finals of the international tournament that we will participate with everyone, we don’t want to give up the Saitama stage until the very end.
The club said: “The fact that we have been active in Saitama Prefecture and Urawa (currently Saitama City) for 30 years is the pride of the Urawa Reds, and it is our steadfast foundation. not abandoned
“We will continue to establish a cooperative relationship with Saitama Prefecture, extend the construction period in anticipation of the Saitama Stadium, and request the AFC to modify the schedule. We will do our utmost to create a supportive environment. of which we can be proud.” Don’t give up!” Encouraging feedback was received.
However, regarding the Japan national team match, the postponement of the turf replacement work was accepted and the JFA said, “I want Kozo Tashima to be punished instead of cooperating,” “JFA is bad” and “Why will the Japanese nation tag team match be postponed?” And criticism from JFA President Kozo Tashima erupted.
There are also voices of opposition to the Governor of Saitama Prefecture, Motohiro Ono, saying, “Why are there so many things that don’t make sense?