Football: Million vie to see first Japan game

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The Independent Online
NEARLY a million people want to be at the kick-off of Japan's new professional league.

There have been 300,000 applications, averaging three tickets each, for a seat in Tokyo's 60,000- capacity National Stadium on 15 May to see the opening game between Yomiuri Verdy's and Nissan FC Yokohama Marinos, which will be carried live on television.

Having advertised in national newspapers for applications, the J-League will have to organise a lottery to allocate tickets, which range in price from 1,000 yen ( pounds 6) to 10,000 yen.

Moves by the 10 clubs involved to raise the profile of the new league by bringing in experienced internationals like Gary Lineker, Germany's Pierre Littbarski and the Brazilians Zico and Edu appears to have paid off, at least initially.