• Kyodo


Former Japan star Hidetoshi Nakata has been appointed as a member of the International Football Association Board that discusses and decides proposed alterations to the game’s laws.

The 39-year-old, whose exploits in the Italian Serie A paved the way for many of his countrymen to move to Europe’s top leagues, has been named one of the nine members for the Football Advisory Panel representing the Asia Football Association.

The FAP advises on soccer issues and the sporting aspects of intended rule changes. Its current members include New Caledonia-born former France international and 1998 World Cup winner Chrstian Karembeu, who represents the Oceania Football Association.

Nakata, who started his career at Bellmare Hiratsuka (now Shonan Bellmare) in 1995, played in the 1998 World Cup when Japan made its tournament debut.

The midfielder signed with Perugia that summer before moving to Roma where he won the Serie A title in 2001. He also played for Parma, Bologna and Fiorentina before moving to Bolton in England in 2005, where he spent the final season of his career.

An integral part of the national team setup during the 2002 and 2006 World Cup campaigns in Japan and Germany, Nakata retired at the age of 29 after his country was knocked out in the group stage of the 2006 tournament. Nakata scored 11 goals in 77 games for Japan.

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