IOC content with FIFA decision not to punish Japan on Olympic match-fixing admission
Thursday, 02 August 2012
August 2 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has claimed it is content with the decision from FIFA not to punish the Japan women's football team after the head coach asked his team not to win in order to avoid playing their Olympic quarter-final in Glasgow.
Japan, the reigning world champions, played out a 0-0 draw with South Africa in Cardiff (pictured top) which meant they finished behind Sweden in their group and will meet Brazil in the Welsh capital rather than travel all the way up to Scotland for their next match.
Coach Norio Sasaki admitted to journalists after the game that he had instructed his players to keep the ball rather than press for a winner to avoid winning the group as he said "it was important for us not to move to Glasgow" because of the travel involved.
The coach even said he felt "sorry we couldn't show a respectable game" but took responsibility for the instructions to the team.
The issue has drawn comparisons with the Olympic badminton competition where the Badminton World Federation (BWF) disqualified eight women from the doubles competition after they purposefully lost their matches to manipulate for themselves an easier draw in knock-out rounds.
Unlike the BWF, FIFA decided not to act on the issue as they said "there are no sufficient elements to start disciplinary proceedings" and they have been supported by the IOC.
"This is a matter for the federation [FIFA] but the two cases [the Japanese football game and the badminton] are not the same," said the IOC director of communications, Mark Adams.
"There is no evidence that the athletes have acted on what the coach said in that instance.
"The federation have looked into it and say they cannot find a case to answer.
"This is all based on comments in Japanese by the coach and the crowd were unaware of the problem, unlike in the badminton where they obviously were aware that something was going on."
Adams also admitted that the IOC is continuing to look into the badminton issue after their appeals to be readmitted into the Olympics were rejected.
"I would not say we are imposing sanctions on them as yet but we have asked the National Olympic Committees to look into the entourage," he said.
Yu Yang, one of the Chinese badminton players disqualified from the Olympics, has announced she is quitting the sport following the issue.
Along with her partner Xiaoli Wang they were disqualified for "not using one's best efforts to win a match", and Chinese Olympic officials have demanded they publicly apologise.
Yu said on her Twitter-like Weibo account: "This is my last time competing, goodbye beloved badminton."
August 2012: World champions Japan escape punishment by FIFA over London 2012 match-fixing admission
July 2012: Tatical draw sees Japan through to play Brazil in women's football quarter-finals