Soccer / J. League

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.