Soccer / J. League

Frontale give up appeal against controversial flag punishment

Kyodo

Kawasaki Frontale will not file an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over being disciplined over a controversial wartime Japanese flag, the J. League first-division side said Friday.

The club’s decision means accepting the Asian Football Confederation’s ruling: a $15,000 fine and one year of probation. Fans raised the flag during Frontale’s 1-0 Asian Champions League win at Suwon Bluewings in South Korea on April 25.

If the flag reappears during the probationary period, Kawasaki will be forced to play one home game in a competition sponsored by the AFC behind closed doors and be subject to more severe punishment.

Frontale team president Yoshihiro Warashina reiterated to reporters that the club is not happy that the flag has been branded as having political or discriminatory undertones.

But he projected that it is unlikely the confederation’s ruling would be overturned as the regional governing body for soccer has rejected Kawasaki’s appeal over the punishment.

During the ACL match, two Frontale supporters waved the 16-ray rising sun flag, nearly provoking a postgame riot.

Kawasaki officials confiscated the flag from the two fans and had to escort other supporters out of the stadium.

The flag was used by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Although it is still flown by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the flag is considered a symbol of Japan’s wartime aggression in many Asian countries, including South Korea and China.

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