• Kyodo


Japan Football Association (JFA) vice president Junji Ogura was elected Wednesday to a four-year term as an Asian representative on soccer’s world governing body FIFA’s Executive Committee.

At an Asian Football Conference (AFC) Congress vote in Kuala Lumpur, Ogura became only the third Japanese representative to hold a position in the organization and the first since 1969.

In a three-way poll in the final round of balloting, Ogura and Thailand’s Worawi Makudi each won 25 votes to edge out Yusef Al Serkal of the United Arab Emirates, who received 23 votes.

“The unity and support of east Asian soccer federations was the reason behind my victory today. The result is a recognition of the success of the World Cup and we won votes because of that,” said Ogura, who served as tournament director for JAWOC.

Ogura’s victory came after Japanese candidates lost out in AFC votes for FIFA positions three times in the 1990s.

AFC’s new event

KUALA LUMPUR (Kyodo) The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) launched a new regional league Tuesday in a bid to raise the profile of Asian soccer.

Modeled on the successful European Champions League, the AFC Champions League will replace the Asian Club Championship, Asian Cup Winners’ Cup and the Asian Super Cup.

Hwang’s farewell

Kashiwa Reysol’s injury-hampered South Korea striker Hwang Sun Hong will leave the J. League club following Saturday’s game, the final day of the Division One first stage, Kashiwa announced Wednesday.

Hwang, who has played for South Korea in the past four World Cups, and has scored 50 goals for his country, will speak to the fans before Saturday’s game against Jubilo Iwata at Kashiwa-no-ha Stadium.

Hwang won the J. League’s Golden Boot in 1999 with Cerezo Osaka. He joined Reysol from South Korean club Suwon Blue Wings in May 2000 and played 27 games, scoring 11 goals through the end of the last season.

But hampered by a number of injuries, the 34-year-old striker has played in just six games and scored one goal this season.

The club recently acquired Brazilian player Ricardinho to replace him.

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