Javier Aguirre sacked as Japan coach due to ongoing anti-corruption probe
The Japan Football Association (JFA) has announced the early cancellation of the contract of national coach Javier Aguirre due to the ongoing match-fixing probe against him in Spain from his previous role as manager of La Liga side Real Zaragoza.
Aguirre, who took charge of the Samurai Blue last year following their disappointing exit from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, has been under a cloud since Spain's anti-corruption prosecutor named him last December in a probe into Real Zaragoza's 2-1 win at Levante on the final day of the 2010-11 La Liga campaign.
The former Mexico coach's side had won the game in question to avoid relegation, and the prosecutor alleged Levante players were paid to deliberately lose the game.
Aguirre has denied any wrongdoing, and the JFA had stood by him during last month's Asian Cup in Australia.
However, with the tournament over and World Cup qualification for 2018 about to begin, Japan have acted to distance themselves from the situation.
"At this point we have decided that we will cancel Aguirre's contract," JFA president Kuniya Daini said in Tuesday's nationally televised news conference.
"First of all we'd like to convey to Coach Aguirre that the reason for the cancellation is that we want to avoid any influence to the national team on their preparation for World Cup and we want to avoid those risks. There is a possibility that he will be indicted and then a court case could begin."
2011 Asian Cup champions Japan lost in the quarterfinal of the tournament to the United Arab Emirates in a nerve-wracking penalty shootout with the match tied 1-1 after regular and extra-time.
"I was very happy to have worked in Japan," Aguirre said in a statement released by the JFA. "I want to wish the team and the supporters the best of luck."