• The Associated Press


Japan’s soccer association said Tuesday it has accepted FIFA’s choice of Bangkok as a new venue to play the June 8 World Cup qualifier between Japan and North Korea.

FIFA made the decision after receiving no appeal against a judgment made last month ordering North Korea to play the match in a neutral country — and with no spectators — as punishment for crowd trouble during home defeats to Bahrain and Iran in March. FIFA also fined the North Korean soccer association 20,000 Swiss francs ($16,770).

Japan Football Association said it received the final decision from FIFA early on Tuesday.

“Now that the decision to hold the game in Bangkok is finalized, we will make preparations so that we can play the perfect game in Bangkok,” JFA chairman Saburo Kawabuchi said in a statement. “The main issue is how the team can overcome the condition that there will be no audience.”

North Korea lost both games in March, jeopardizing its hopes of making it to the World Cup for the first time since 1966, when it reached the quarterfinals. The national team is playing internationals for the first time since 1994.

Marques to go home

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Brazilian striker Marques will leave Nagoya Grampus Eight and move to Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro after his contract expires at the end of this month, officials of the J. League first-division club said Tuesday.

The 32-year-old, who joined Nagoya in the summer of 2003, will play his final match for Grampus when it takes on struggling Vissel Kobe at Toyota Stadium on Saturday.

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