Asian Cup: JFA says Aguirre match-fixing claim hasn't even been accepted in Spain

January 26, 2015 11:49 am 

TOKYO, Jan. 25 — The Japan Football Association has new information that the reported case implicating national coach Javier Aguirre in a 2011 La Liga match-fixing scandal has not even been accepted by a Spanish court, JFA President Kuniya Daini said on Saturday.

Shortly after returning from Sydney where holders Japan were eliminated on penalties by the United Arab Emirates in an Asian Cup quarterfinal the night before, Daini not only reiterated that Aguirre's job was safe but also said the JFA has learned the case has not even gone through yet.

With a team including Aguirre's attorney, the JFA is conducting its own investigation into the matter, which has been reported extensively by Spanish daily Marca.

According to Marca, the case has been accepted by a Valencia court and Aguirre is on the verge of facing prosecution, but the JFA now is begging to differ.

"The information the JFA has is that the claim has not even been accepted," Daini said at Narita airport in Chiba Prefecture. "We are sticking with Aguirre. At this point in time, there is no problem."

But asked if he was suggesting the Marca reports are erroneous, Daini said, "I have no idea."

Reportedly, the claim filed by Spanish prosecutors accuses Aguirre and 40 others of fixing a match between the Mexican's former club Real Zaragoza and Levante.

Zaragoza beat Levante 2-1 away at the end of the 2011 season, a win that that helped them avoid relegation.

Prosecutors allege the Levante players were paid a total of 965,000 euros to throw the game. Zaragoza made bank transfers to Aguirre, their players and officials, who laundered the money to pay off Levante, the charges say.

Aguirre, who took over as Japan coach from Italian Alberto Zaccheroni after last summer's World Cup in Brazil, protested his innocence at a press conference in Tokyo on Dec. 27.

Mexico's two-time World Cup manager refused to respond to reporters' questions over the allegations during the Asian Cup.

Earlier Saturday in Sydney, Daini said Japan were becoming a stronger team under Aguirre, whose side lost to UAE 5-4 in a shootout after a 1-1 draw following extra time.

"It was a game we should have won," Daini said. "I don't mean to make excuses, but we only had two days off in between (one less than UAE). We created lots of chances and I think we are becoming a better team."

"I think the players have got first-hand understanding of how tough the competition is in Asia now." (PNA/Kyodo)

FPV/RSM

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