KAWASAKI – Kawasaki Frontale will donate ¥50 million prize money received for finishing runnerup in last November’s Nabisco Cup final to Kawasaki city, the J. League club said Friday.
Frontale initially wanted to hand back the prize following criticism of their players’ behavior during the Nabisco Cup award ceremony. But the J. League decided the use of the money would be limited to promoting soccer in the community and improving player education.
The Kawasaki city board of education will use part of the donation to pay for balls and soccer equipment, along with books and other educational resources for nurseries, schools, youth organizations and libraries in the city.
Kawasaki city will also consider using some of the funds to make renovations to Todoroki Stadium, Frontale’s home ground.
Although Frontale received a strict reprimand from chairman Kenji Onitake, they were not penalized by the J. League.
Kawasaki suspended defender Yusuke Mori for chewing gum during the ceremony, while three senior Frontale officials including team president Shimpei Takeda took a 10 percent pay cut for three months.
Other players took off their medals during the ceremony and refused to shake hands with VIPs.
SHIZUOKA (Kyodo) Shinji Ono was unveiled as a Shimizu S-Pulse player on Friday, with the 30-year-old former Japan international determined to prove he is not a spent force.
“This is a worthwhile challenge. Hopefully, I can show that life begins at 30,” the three-time World Cup midfielder told a news conference. “I want to play with the hunger and spirit of a rookie.”
Ono has decided to return to Japan to increase his slim chances of making the 2010 World Cup squad and joins local team Shimizu on a two-year deal.
“I have wanted very much to play for Shimizu and I thought timing wise this was the best move. I will be able to draw strength from being able to see Mount Fuji everyday.”
He added, “Shimizu have arguably to most technically gifted players in the country. I have come home to help the team win titles.”
Ono has spent the last two years with German club Bochum but has had limited first-team opportunities because of a succession of injuries. It was his second spell in Europe, having previously enjoyed a successful four-and-a-half year stint in the Netherlands with Feyenoord.
“He (Ono) is player with experience. Hopefully we can bring out the best in each other,” said S-Pulse manager Kenta Hasegawa.
In August 2008, Ono made his first national team appearance since the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany in Japan’s 3-1 loss to Uruguay.
Japan, Spain to play
Japan and European champion Spain have agreed to play a friendly after this summer’s World Cup finals in South Africa.
The agreement came at a meeting Friday between Japan Football Association chief Motoaki Inukai and Spanish counterpart Angel Maria Villar Llona. A date and venue are to be arranged at a later date.
Currently No. 1 in FIFA’s world rankings, Spain beat Japan 1-0 at home the last time the two countries met in 2001.