Murai praises Sanfrecce resolve in title run

Murai praises Sanfrecce resolve in title run

J.League chairman Mitsuru Murai again hailed Sanfrecce Hiroshima for their journey capturing the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League title this season.

The side were crowned champions for the third time following their 1-1 draw with Gamba Osaka in the second leg of the J.League championship final on Saturday, allowing them to pip the previous winners 4-3 on aggregate.

After watching Sanfrecce claim the highest points total in the regular season as well, Murai was there to declare how impressed he was.

“I would like to congratulate Sanfrecce Hiroshima on winning the Meiji Yasuda 2015 J.League championship and capturing their third J1 title,” he said on Saturday.

“Both tonight’s championship and the second stage victory were deservedly won in front of a wonderful sold-out crowd here in Hiroshima. 

“As manager Hajime Moriyasu promised, the team did not slack off following their second stage title and played incredibly well in the Championship. 

“The development of young players such as today’s goalscorer Takuma Asano and their balance with the team’s veteran players is particularly impressive.

“The players were under pressure to avoid even a single fatal mistake in this difficult tournament, but all three teams [including championship semi-finalists Urawa Reds] delivered high-calibre, high-energy performances and I want to praise everyone involved.”

The league official was also pleased with the amount of growth Japanese football enjoyed over 2015, and reminded everyone that they have a role to play.

“The three championship matches drew a total of 95,149 fans,” Murai added.

“Many viewers were watching the J.League on TV for the first time in many years. As a first-ever trial for us, video highlights from the matches were published immediately on the internet and social media. 

“In that sense it was an exciting tournament that many fans enjoyed. As a result, the J.League welcomed over 10 million fans for the first time, breaking 2009’s mark of over 9.5 million.

“In order to expand the J.League’s reach to even more fans, we attempted to create more climactic moments throughout the season through changing the format of the league.” 

“In reviewing the 2015 season, we will not only look at the results of these changes in terms of entertainment factor but also plan on reaching out to a wide audience, including fans and supporters, in order to gather feedback.”