Japan Football Association drops Aguirre after Spain files charges

Japan Football Association drops Aguirre after Spain files charges
Japan Football Association (JFA) President Kuniya Daini attends a news conference at the JFA headquarters in Tokyo in this photo taken by Kyodo February 3, 2015. JFA on Tuesday terminated the contract of coach Javier Aguirre due to the Mexican's involvement in an ongoing match-fixing investigation.

The Japan Football Association decided on Tuesday to terminate the contract of national team coach Javier Aguirre, after confirming a Spanish court had accepted prosecutors' charges against the Mexican in relation to match-fixing allegations.

JFA president Kuniya Daini said at a nationally televised press conference in Tokyo that the 56-year-old Aguirre, who has long maintained his innocence, has accepted the decision.

The move comes less than two weeks after defending champion Japan lost in the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup in Australia, although Daini emphasised that that was not a factor in the JFA's decision.

"In regard to Aguirre's leadership ability, although we weren't able to win the Asian Cup, we had made progress in building a strong team for the next World Cup," Daini said.

"We evaluated his ability highly. We were hoping it would not come to this. It is a regrettable result."

With qualifying for the 2018 World Cup starting in June, Daini said the association regarded Aguirre's potential legal problems as a possible distraction. Aguirre has been implicated in an allegedly fixed Spanish league match in 2011 while coach of first-division Zaragoza.

In a statement released by the JFA, Aguirre expressed his thanks to Japanese supporters and wished the national team luck in the future.

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