Australia and Japan on Monday pledged closer ties between the A-League and the J-League, inking an agreement to share technical, marketing and administrative expertise.

The deal paves the way for matches at elite youth level between Australian and Japanese clubs and encourages loan deals between the leagues.

It will also see joint marketing and promotion of AFC Champions League games featuring Japanese and Australian clubs.

“This deal brings two of Asia’s top football nations closer in a very meaningful way that will not just build relationships, but will have an impact on football development,” said Football Federation Australia general secretary David Gallop.

“The J-League and A-League are setting benchmarks in Asia and this is an opportunity to drive each other to even greater heights.”

J-League managing director Daisuke Nakanishi, speaking in Sydney, said the two leagues shared similarities in terms of vision and aspirations.

“Both the J-League and the A-League are still young and developing and we are both aiming to be world class competitions,” he said.

“Another note is Australia’s sporting culture. We found sometime after the 2000 Sydney Olympics that the sports industry had gradually grown and government policies on sports became very supportive.

“We will host the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and it is our idea to benchmark FFA and the A-League, how they developed since their establishment, especially the cooperation with the government.” – Agence France-Presse

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