Masato Yoshizawa, the FC Osaka chairman, has shared his vision for the club’s future promotion to the J3 League and redevelopment project for Higashi Osaka’s Hanazono Rugby Field 2, according to the Daily Sports newspaper.
The Higashi Osaka club, which is working towards becoming the J-League’s third Osaka-based team, finished eighth in this year’s Japan Football League (fourth division), significantly lower in the table than last year’s impressive runners-up finish.
Yoshizawa said: “Towards the end of the 2018 season, we had a great momentum and we finished runners-up but in reality the team was still young and didn’t have that maturity needed for consistency. Fortunately, we’ll have most of our key players staying on for the next season so hopefully we’ll learn from this season and continue to grow as a club.”
Last month, FC Osaka applied to become the J-League 100 Year Plan Club status which is required in order for a football club to then apply for the J3 License. Subsequent promotion from the JFL to J3 League requires the applicant clubs to finish in the top four as well as having an average attendance of more than 2,000 in the JFL, and also have a home stadium with required capacity.
With the promotion in mind, FC Osaka have signed a partnership with the City of Higashi Osaka to redevelop the Hanazono Rugby Field 2 into a 5,000-capacity venue.
Yoshizawa added: “By redeveloping the rugby field, we are hoping Hanazono will become a holy ground for all football codes and promote rugby, football, and American football. We aim to attract 5,000 spectators every (match) at the redeveloped stadium.”
According to the Higashi Osaka Keizai Shimbun newspaper, Yoshikazu Noda, the Mayor of Higashi Osaka, welcomed the partnership with FC Osaka, saying:
“The club’s proposal to redevelop the Hanazono Rugby Field 2 will not only add another major attraction to the already-much-respected Hanazono Rugby Complex but will also help promote rugby in the region. We are anticipating this project will further contribute to boost the growth of sports in Hanazono.”
Article provided by The Stadium Hub