Kawasaki Frontale club president Yoshihiro Warashina said Friday that there was no political or racial motivation behind a flag that has landed the J. League club in hot water with the Asian Football Confederation.
The AFC charged Frontale with discrimination on Thursday after their traveling supporters raised a controversial wartime Japanese flag during a midweek Asian Champions League match in South Korea against Suwon Bluewings.
According to article 58.3 of the AFC’s disciplinary and ethics code, the team could face a minimum penalty of playing two matches in an empty stadium plus a fine of at least $15,000.
But Warashina said, “We don’t think the flag in question was politically or racially motivated. We will emphasize that point (with the AFC).”
Two Frontale supporters waved the 16-ray rising sun flag during Kawasaki’s 1-0 victory at Suwon on Tuesday, which nearly triggered a post-match riot.
Kawasaki officials confiscated the flag from the two fans and had to escort other supporters out of the stadium.