A Japanese university football player, who was suspended last year for committing a dangerous tackle on an opponent, is set to make his competitive return in May, a source close to the matter said Wednesday.
Nihon University linebacker Taisuke Miyagawa is scheduled to play for the first time in nearly a year, when his team faces Nippon Sport Science University in a practice game on May 4.
Miyagawa was suspended from playing during the 2018 academic year after he injured Kwansei Gakuin University quarterback Kosei Okuno with a late tackle during an intercollegiate game last May.
The incident stirred controversy nationwide as Miyagawa later said he was instructed by his coaches to intentionally injure the quarterback.
The governing body of college football in the capital and surrounding area, the Kantoh Collegiate Football Association, however, agreed to allow Miyagawa and Nihon University to play in official games starting the following academic year, which begins in April.
The May 4 contest is Nihon University’s first intercollegiate game of the 2019 academic year. The university had unofficial practice games in November and December, but Miyagawa did not play.
He was referred to prosecutors last month on a charge of assault but is not expected to be indicted, having already reached an out-of-court settlement with the injured player.
Nihon University dismissed the two coaches last summer over the scandal after they were handed lifetime bans from competition by the Kantoh Collegiate Football Association.
Investigative sources said last month that Tokyo police did not find evidence that the former coaches issued instructions with a clear intent to inflict injuries on the opponent.
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