The Kantoh Collegiate Football Association in May ruled that former Nihon University head coach Masato Uchida and ex-assistant coach Tsutomu Inoue did not tell the truth about the illegal tackle incident when it decided to hand them lifetime bans from the Kantoh Collegiate League.
Now, the KCFA is accused of lying to the media.
The KCFA received grievances from Uchida and Inoue on Monday, the deadline for submitting them. The KCFA, however, said the paperwork was not submitted at the next day’s news conference where the regional collegiate football organizing body announced that the Nihon University Phoenix’s season-long ban wouldn’t be lifted.
Asked if the KCFA received the banned coaches’ grievances by the deadline, Keiji Morimoto, the managing director, answered, “No, we did not.”
“We apology for providing you with incorrect information,” Morimoto told a news conference on Friday at the Japan American Football Association office in Tokyo. “We had the strong request from attorneys of Uchida and Inoue and we took it as significant. As a result, we told a lie to the media.”
According to Morimoto, Uchida’s attorney warned the KCFA to pay extra attention to information management, while Inoue’s lawyer was required to not disclose even the fact that his grievance was submitted.
“During the course of negotiations with their attorneys, it is better to have a good relationship with them,” said Masahiro Terada, the auditor of the KCFA and a lawyer himself. “That became the major reason we answered the question that way in the press conference.”
The fact the KCFA received the grievances was kept secret even to the majority of directors who attended the director’s meeting on Tuesday to discuss Nihon University’s ban.
“I told Terada, and (chairman Yuji) Kakizawa that the grievances were submitted just a few minutes before the director’s meeting,” Morimoto said. “I decided not to tell other directors because we had a tight schedule on that day when the press conference would follow right after the meeting.”
Only the trio and Makoto Maekawa, the standing director, who received the grievances knew the truth but did not share the facts with the other 20 directors attending the meeting.
On source told The Japan Times that one director asked if the KCFA received the grievances in the meeting because the person expected the media would ask about this in the news conference. But the answer was no, the source said.
“We thought letting the attorney have the confidence in us was the priority,” said Kakizawa, who arrived late because of his job as a business man. “We knew telling the incorrect information hurts our confidence in the media. But we wanted to establish a good relationship with the attorneys.”
It sounded like the KCFA put more weight in its relationship with the attorneys of Uchida and Inoue than faith in the media.
Neither Morimoto nor Terada thinks the fact that they did not provide the truth to the directors affected the KCFA’s decision to not lift the ban on the Phoenix.
Nihon University has been automatically demoted to the second-tier Big 8 from the current Top 8 for the 2019 campaign.
And now the Phoenix have no choice but to accept the ban, even if false information was presented by the KFCA about the former coaches’ grievance paperwork.