On the 20th, Meiji Yasuda Seimei J1 League Urawa Reds released a statement titled “Regarding the location of the 2022 ACL Final 2 match”. The club’s commitment to host the 2nd leg of the AFC Champions League final at Saitama Stadium 2002 has been praised. On the other hand, the government and the Japan Football Association (JFA) have been criticized for delaying the renovation of the stadium and the last Asian qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar tournament were held in January and February 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 defeated Johor (Malaysia 1st division), BG Pathum United (Thailand 1st division) and Jeonbuk Hyundai (Korea 1st division) in the last tournament held in Japan.
In particular, in the semi-final against Jeonbuk Hyundai held at Saitama Stadium 2002, Urawa Red Diamonds fans gave strong support when Danish forward Casper Junker (28) equalized the score in the 120th minute just before the end of the second half of extra time. It was also 3-1 in the penalty kick.
The first leg of the ACL final will be held on February 19th next year, and the second leg will be held on February 26th at the home of Urawa Red Diamonds. However, the location of the second leg match is currently undecided, as it overlaps with the time when the turf will be changed at Saitama Stadium 2002.
Among them, Urawa Reds published a progress report on the venue of the match. “Hosting the ACL final at Saitama Stadium 2002 (Stadama Saitama) and winning the championship is the wish of everyone who loves Urawa Reds, and that passion as a club has not changed. In the new ACL semi-final, many fans and supporters created a “THIS IS Saitama” atmosphere by making the most of their home advantage.”
“That’s why the players were able to get hot, run, and fight. The club wants to create and fight with fans and fans in the ACL final. Saitama Prefecture and related parties We coordinate with Saitama Prefecture,” and explained details The negotiations with Saitama Prefecture are as follows.
“In response to the team’s decision to advance to the ACL finals, we have asked the representative of Saitama Prefecture to postpone the renewal of the Saitama Stadium turf in accordance with the request of the Japan Football Association (JFA). at the ACL finals at the stadium, we heard that the implementation period would be delayed for a year. However, the prefectural government officially replied, “Since the construction preparations are already underway, it is not possible to extend the schedule.”
“Like this time, when the JFA approached us, we were able to postpone the construction work for a year while the preparations were underway, so we would like to continue the discussions. when holding the event, the ACL final was to be held in November 2022 as before, so the club should take steps in advance. It was impossible.”
“We have asked for the construction work to start in March 2023, which is after the finals, or to shorten the construction period. With regard to the fact that most of the season will be unavailable and the construction period shortened, the proposed renovation is not limited to replacing the lawn, but is a large-scale repair that includes reset 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 person in charge of Saitama Prefecture, we have already agreed that we and Saitama Prefecture will do the lawn renovation work at Saitama Stadium in March 2022, from the end of the 2022 season to the middle of April 2023. Along with the explanation taking that it had already been completed, as mentioned above, there was an official response that it could not 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 game at Saitama Stadium. Considering the strength of the management, Urawa Reds cannot reverse it with their only their own efforts. We will continue to look for a way to hold the ACL final at Saitama Stadium, not only with the club, but also with fans and supporters. I will continue
“Along with the above discussions, Urawa Red Diamonds sent a request to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to change the schedule of the ACL final, with the cooperation of JFA President Kozo Tashima and J League Chairman Yoshikazu Nonomura. In order to become the third Asian champion in the finals of the international tournament in which we will participate together with everyone, we do not want to give up on the Saitama stage until the 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 Urawa Reds, and this is our unwavering foundation. I have not given up to her.
“We will continue to build a cooperative relationship with Saitama Prefecture, extend the construction period before Saitama Stadium, and ask AFC to change the schedule. We will do our best to create a supportive environment that we can be proud of.” Don’t give up!” Encouraging comments were received.
However, regarding the Japanese 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 cooperation,” “JFA is bad,” and “Why can national Japan postpone team game?” And criticism erupted at the president of JFA, Kozo Tashima.
There are also voices of opposition to Saitama Prefecture Governor Motohiro Ono, saying, “Why are there so many things that do not make sense?”