Japan coach Aguirre denies match-fixing reports
TOKYO (AP) — Japan manager Javier Aguirre met with officials of the Japan Football Association on Thursday and denied allegations that he was involved in match-fixing.
The JFA’s lead attorney Yutaka Miyoshi said Aguirre told him during a two-hour meeting that he has never been involved in match-fixing.
Miyoshi questioned Aguirre and learned of nothing that could link him to the allegations.
According to Spanish media reports, authorities in Spain are moving to prosecute Aguirre and some 30 others on suspicion of fixing a league game against Levante when he managed Zaragoza in May 2011.
Aguirre returned to Japan from Europe on Thursday but did not speak to reporters.
“This could become a big problem if it starts to affect his job as manager,” Miyoshi said. “We are trying to see that it doesn’t.”
The match under investigation was played during the last round of the 2010-11 season. Zaragoza won 2-1 at Levante, saving the club from relegation.
For the time being the JFA is standing behind Aguirre but Miyoshi said the association’s stance could change.
“This is not the end of it,” Miyoshi said. “We will see how the investigation unfolds. If new facts come to light, we will make a judgment.”
Under Aguirre, who was appointed following a disappointing World Cup performance by the Blue Samurai, Japan has won three matches and lost three.