Chile-Japan football friendly cancelled after 6.7 earthquake in Hokkaido

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An earthquake on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido has caused the Japan-Chile friendly match scheduled for Friday Sept. 7 to be cancelled due to damaged infrastructure in the region.

The earthquake, reported BioBioChile, took place on Wednesday at 3.05 p.m. Chilean time, with a 6.6 recorded on the Richter scale, a depth of 31 kilometres and an epicentre 62 kilometres southwest of the city of Sapporo, where the match was due to take place.

After the first earthquake, another smaller one shook the island at 5.3 on the Richter scale, with a similar depth and distance from Sapporo.

Local and national media sources informed that there were widespread power cuts across the island of Hokkaido, and the local airport, metro and train services were also suspended.

Publimetro reported that eight people had been killed in the earthquake, but that Las Rojas, the Chilean team, were unharmed.

“The team was on the eighth floor,” explained director of the National Association of Professional Football (ANFP) Hugo Muñoz. “The earthquake was strong, and lasted a long time. People came out into the corridor. There was wifi during the whole event,” he said.

“To the families of the players, they are fine,” he assured. “There was a lot of movement, but nothing fell. Our Chilean earthquake culture helped us a lot.”

After the event, the Japanese Football Association announced that the friendly match would be cancelled.

“This decision has been made taking into consideration the severity of the damages and the significant impact on basic infrastructure such as electricity and transport, and also to ensure the safety of the spectators,” the Association said.

The team have changed hotel after the event and after the match’s cancellation are now waiting to be transferred to South Korea, where they hope to play a friendly match on Sept. 11.