Japanese soccer team fined ?20 million because fans’ cheering violated COVID-19 guidelines

With regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan is in a bit of an awkward situation. Reported infections are currently at an all-time high, but for the most part it seems as if Japanese society is moving towards a post-pandemic lifestyle. This can result in a lot of conflicting opinions about proper social behavior, as we can see in the current case of the Urawa Reds.
The Urawa Reds (formally Urawa Red Diamonds) are a first-division J.League soccer club based in Saitama Prefecture, having both a long history and very devoted fan-base. So devoted, in fact, that their exuberant support has landed the club in hot water in the form of a 20 million yen fine from the J.League for violating the league’s COVID-19 safety rules against loud cheering during games.
In issuing the fine, the J.League cited two separate incidents. On May 21 at a home match against the Kashima Antlers, a group of about 60 fans gathered by the north vehicle gate of Saitama Stadium 2002 and cheered for about 10 minutes while the team bus arrived. According to the J.League some members of the group were either unmasked or wearing a mask around their chin.
Then, on July 2 at Panasonic Stadium Suita, a group of some 100 Urawa Reds supporters were said to have been cheering loudly as a group for about five minutes in the final minutes of an away match against Gamba Osaka. Again, some among the group were not wearing masks, or wearing them incorrectly.
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