Kozo Kinomoto, an administrator who contributed to the development of Japanese pro soccer has died, the J. League announced Monday. He was 68.
Kinomoto, who stopped playing at the age of 26 when he had a kidney removed, functioned as an administrator with the help of dialysis. A leader in moving Japanese soccer from its amateur origins to the formation of a pro league, Kinomoto became known as the man who “gambled his life to create the J. League.”
He died in a Chiba hospital on Sunday afternoon from heart failure.
After Kinomoto retired from his post as a member of the league’s board of directors in 2003, he had to have both legs amputated. His book “Both Legs Dedicated to Japanese Soccer” was published in 2013.