Ogura says JFA yet to reach final decision regarding Copa


Japan’s trip to the Copa America in Argentina will be called off according to tournament organizers, but the Japan Football Association is still clinging on to hopes of sending Alberto Zaccheroni’s side to the South American continental championship this summer.

“Japan are doing everything they can to put together a team, but it looks extremely difficult,” Jose Luis Meiszner, head of the Copa America organizing committee, was quoted as saying by several Argentine media outlets on Tuesday.

FOX Deportes reported on Tuesday that Japan’s withdrawal is set to be formally announced on Friday.

As guests of Copa America, Japan do not have the right to call up their Europe-based players.

JFA President Junji Ogura pleaded to give technical director Hiromi Hara more time. Hara is currently in Europe, negotiating for the release of the Japanese players.

“We’re certainly not going to draw any conclusions on our end,” Ogura, a FIFA executive committee member, said on Wednesday night. “CONMEBOL (the South American confederation) has told us the deadline for player registration is June 27. We’re waiting for Hara to see what kind of a squad he can put together.”

“Hara and Zac are still in the process of deciding who to pick for the Kirin Cup, the Copa. But the Copa is a prestigious tournament. If the team we decide to send isn’t good enough for them, then I give up.

“Maybe CONMEBOL and the Argentina federation heard back from the clubs in Europe, because they were talking to them as well. But we certainly haven’t decided on anything yet,” he said.

Graft charges hound FIFA


Football’s governing body was hit by more corruption allegations Tuesday when six FIFA executive committee members were accused of receiving or demanding bribes during the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast were allegedly paid $1.5 million to vote for Qatar, according to evidence submitted to a British Parliamentary inquiry by a British newspaper.

The conduct of Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi in the 2018 contest was described as “improper and unethical” by the former head of England’s bid.

The allegations were made in the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons.

In Zurich, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he will ask for evidence of the claims heard at the inquiry and forward any allegations to the FIFA ethics committee.

“I cannot say they are all angels or they are all devils,” he said of the executive members.

“We must have the evidence and then we will act immediately against all those (who) would be breach of the ethical code rules,” Blatter added.

The session also heard from David Triesman, who resigned as chairman of England’s Football Association and its 2018 bid team last May after being secretly recorded by a tabloid newspaper making unproven claims that Spain and Russia set up a bribery scam to influence referees at the 2010 World Cup.

Triesman made the allegations about Warner, Leoz, Teixeira and Makudi.

Triesman also said that Leoz, of Paraguay, asked for an honorary knighthood, while Makudi of Thailand allegedly wanted to receive the money from English TV for them to broadcast a planned friendly against the country.