The postponement of the football friendly match between the Samurai Blue and Brazil owing to a viral outbreak at the Olympic Park has done more than cost the country’s prestige in world football. It has also caused an additional financial burden as Japanese football clubs now face the possibility of having to play the gruelling eight-month Japanese Top-flight season without a break.

Every winter, as Japanese professional footballers go overseas to play their winters games, they are denied the luxury of a winter break – that in other European leagues is granted every year. Now, once again, the same situation could be faced with only three snow-free months until the start of the Japanese season in June.

“As soon as the Olympics started we had already known that there would be a delay in the start of the J-League and now this,” Go Otsuka, an administrator at Kanda Katawinji, the team at the epicentre of the virus outbreak, said. “My colleague told me that there were 20-25 people on the medical ward who were suffering from this but I’m not even sure who it was, how serious their illnesses are or how serious this problem is going to get.”

“I imagine many of them will have to be sidelined from the game. If everything goes as it is, we won’t have many warm weather games. The Japanese teams’ fixtures won’t be able to be played because we can’t play at the Olympic Stadium before the end of March.”