Thursday, July 07, 2005

Japan FA and J-League clash over schedule

Although the Japan Football Association negotiated this year’s schedule so that domestic league and international games did not overlap, the timing of the J-League's All-stars game is clashing with the national team's scheduled visit to Europe, Marie Waki reports.

Kazuki Sasaki, director and general secretary of the J-league, had indicated earlier in the week that some sort of understanding had been reached with the JFA giving All-Stars precedence over any national team call-ups. However, JFA chairman Saburo Kawabuchi responded by saying that it would be meaningless if national team manager Zico were not able to call up the players he felt he needed.

The promotional fireworks are gearing up for the fourth annual J League All-Stars Game which kicks-off on October 9. Fans select the players they most want to see by clicking in their votes on the official internet website. "All good -- except that the JFA has just planned a two-game East-European tour for the national team during that same week --friendlies with the Ukraine and Latvia on October 8 and 12."

Zico is not expected to return to Japan until the latter half of July, when he will be calling up the members for the East Asian Cup to be held in South Korea at the end of the month.