The Japan Football Association (JFA) on Tuesday announced the sudden dismissal of national team coach Javier Aguirre.
In a written statement, the JFA confirmed that a Spanish prosecutor’s complaint over an ongoing match-fixing scandal involving Aguirre and his former Real Zaragoza squad has been accepted by the Valencia court system, leading to preliminary hearings and a trial later this year.
“We learned yesterday that the complaint was accepted on January 30, and must consider the effect that it will have on the national team,” JFA president Kuniya Daini told reporters on Tuesday evening. “We recognize Aguirre’s abilities and wanted to continue with him in charge. Had the prosecution’s complaint not been accepted, he would have remained as coach.”
Daini went on to say that a group composed of himself, the JFA’s technical committee, and their board of directors will conduct a search for Aguirre’s replacement.
“We want to find a new coach in time for Japan’s March friendlies (against Tunisia and Uzbekistan),” he continued, noting that the JFA had compiled information on potential successors in the event of a worst-case scenario.
The JFA statement notes that internal sanctions regarding the issue will be determined at a meeting of the body’s executive committee later this month.
Since taking over the Samurai Blue in July following their group stage exit at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Aguirre lead Japan to a 7-0-3 record. His last result, a 5-4 (1-1 AET) penalty kick loss to UAE, saw former holders Japan exit the Asian Cup in the quarter finals for the first time since 1996.