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Frontale president claims no racial, political motivation behind fans’ confiscated wartime flag

Kyodo

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.