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Niigata school vice principal under fire for ordering soccer team to lose game

32 Comments

The Japan Football Association (JFA) said Friday that the vice principal of a junior high school in Niigata ordered his students to lose an indoor soccer game held in Joetsu City in January.

The vice principal, who coaches the soccer team at Naoetsu Junior High School, instructed his players to deliberately lose a group game by a margin of 6 goals so that his team would advance beyond the preliminaries as the group runner-up, and therefore avoid facing the tournament's top-seeded team in the knockout round. Following the instruction, the players scored six consecutive own goals and lost the game 7-0.

In response to the incident, the JFA on Friday decided to ban the coach from all soccer-related activities for one year.

Meanwhile, an education board official said the vice principal's action “lacked consideration for the students from an educational perspective” and added that he has been summoned for questioning.

“Things like this send the wrong message to children. There must not be any unfair play. I would like to apologize on behalf of the school,” the school principal said in a statement Friday.

© News reports

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32 Comments
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I`m all for strategic manouveres to get to where you want to be....but 6 own goals????!!! For Gods sake, could they not have been just a little bit more subtle about it??!

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Why is he being punished? I could order the Colts to lose a game... dosn't mean they would ever actually do it! So if I tell someone to go jump off a bridge, and they do, and I going to be held responsible?

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Zai,

Up until last year, we used to go skiing there yearly. We always stayed at Gojyoukan right by the train station. Good times. Great town with super friendly people. I hate to see this happen to the kids of such a great area.

Taka

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considering Joetsu is my favorite place in all of Japan

Really, Taka? What's your connection with the city? I was CIR there from 1998 to 2000.

I'm reassured to see I wasn't the only one who thought this wasn't the best example to set the kids.

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That so called educator should have been suspended from his job also. He should have time to think of why his actions where wrong. How can you tell kids not to try to win? That sends the wrong message.

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I agree with Smartacus and GW here. Not only was this disrespectful of the other team, it also sent a message to the players that they couldn't beat the number 1 seed. Let's just say everything panned out according to the vice-principal's plan, what would have happened in the finals? The Joetsu team would have been crushed (an unacceptable outcome for me considering Joetsu is my favorite place in all of Japan). Their coach has already told the Joetsu team they are inferior to the #1 seeded team in the tournament.

I agree with those who say this guy should never coach youth sports again.

Taka

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You know what would be hilarious? If both teams were playing to lose completely openly. The forwards for one team would be at their own goal. The backs would be at the other team's goal.

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6 own goals? the coach also told them to do that? why not just play as usual and allow the other team to score? Or where this kids trying to teach the coach a lesson?

In pro football when a coach face this kind of situation he would line up all the substitutes and say that he's giving them a chance to play, yeah right.

They should also punish the stupid kids because you shouldn't do the wrong thing just because sensei said so.

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Big difference between Jr. High sports and professional sports. In professional sports, winning is most important, in JH sports, its how you play the game. Children are still learning to try their best in every situation. Very poor example of ethics on the part of the coach.

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it's a game, it has rules, he didnt break any, it's a game.

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GW -- agree completely. What the other posters want to conveniently ignore is that scoring six own goals is a complete insult to the opposing team and shows ZERO sportsmanship. That is NOT why tax payer money goes to support junior high school sports, and any analogies to professional soccer is completely irrelevant.

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disgusting! the VP shud be fired & the posters here who are for being strategic losers, shame on you all, thankfully I never grew up playing sports with losers like you all, I went out & played my best, period.

6 own goals, the team shud be disqualified. Bunch of wimps, there is nothing more satisfying than playing & beating an opposing team that yr supposed to lose to.

In my youth on a couple occasions the team I was on did beat those teams, some of my fondest memories, these kids will have memories of losing 7-0 with 6 own goals, what a nightmare!

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I'm surprised how many readers think this is no big deal. For a competitive athlete who loves his or her sport with passion and pride, being forced to take a dive for whatever reason is as low a thing as can happen to them. Imagine if some of the kids didn't agree, but couldn't do anything as they watched teammates score own goals. It is dishonorable.

And for those readers who can't see anything wrong with it, then you must have had a poor upbringing.

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My baseball coach did the same thing. I thought he was an a-hole. I still think he's a a-hole, because we lost. idiot But he needs to be promoted to the Japan National Soccer Team What initative ,what insight, what individualism, what bravery. Oh, I forgot this is nippon.

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This is why I don't like soccer/football. The sportsmanship is seriously lacking. It is the same thing with all the diving. I mean, come on boys and girls, show some character and some pride.

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At first when you read the headline of this story it sounds like the good 'ol boy network, somebody taking a payoff or throwing a game so somebody can win money, as Yakuza scum types do in almost all other professional sports in Japan.

But after you the read the story, the coach actually sounds justified, he was playing a strategic series, in a system that is hosed to begin with... he merely used the system in his teams favor... Big deal the team threw a game... WTF...?

Sure, they should have held a team-wide vote, and if the team agreed to it... then it should have been A-OK.

Oh.. and we all know life in Japan is 100% fair play all the time when you grow up...

Come little boy 50 year old oyaji's... stop acting like you're 12 years old...

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lolol. Such an education these players are getting: ¨let´s be losers!¨. Unfortunately this situation happens even in World Cups. I read someplace that Argentina got its second WC title, in 1978?, after paying Paraguay or Uruguay to lose a game that if won won´t matter to them. But this situation in Japan is sad because it´s children, not avid adults playing.

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Same in F1-Motor racing! Let your team mate overtake you, he needs the points. So much for a competition...

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Don't we all remember our own experiences growing up. Frosted over fields and water-logged rugby balls that seemed designed to dislocate fingers and knock out teeth. Oh yes, and there were those zealots on the side line who on weekdays were your best friend's parents. Those were the days!

As pointed out above, ordering players to deliberately loose does not set a very good example to these kids. Reading this article, you can just imagine the sort of guy this vice principal is. His own dreams of sporting glory probably ended somewhere in elementary school, so now he has to project his poorly hidden desire on these kids. When I was at school giving large amounts of blood (playing for the school rugby team), our coach (the classics master) used to use the old spartan comparison in motivating us to win. "Either come back with your shield or on it." Pretty dramatic but a lot more effective than ordering your kids to loose on purpose.

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I'm happy to bow to the judgment of those who are better versed in football rules and etiquette than I :-)

Happy Easter, everyone.

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The idea/plan of vice principal is understandable to avoid the toughest team in order to make next better game for his school in the tournament. However this is students game, not professional game and the way of losing was not good at all like intentionally scored 6 OWN goals. Maybe he should have used backup members instead of main members for losing game. Then it could have made sense.

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i support the coach. winning the tournament is the goal, not going out after group stage. he should have done it differently though. playing weaker squad and not instructing own goals, but more like just go out there and play like rubbish kind of thing.

by the way there is no written rule against this, so he should appeal.

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Dead right, northlondon. The bloke did exactly what any coach with half a brain would do. The problem here is with the set-up of the tournament. The team finishing top should be guaranteed an easier game in the next round than the team finishing second. Well done, Mr Vice-principal! I doff my hat to you, Sir!

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zaichik, you're in a soccer tournament. If you win your group you get to play Barcelona. If you finish second in your group you get to face Tottenham Hotspurs. What are you going to do next ?

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Principal will be very successful in Sumo/boxing.

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Any professional soccer coach would do exactly the same if it meant the difference between facing a Barcelona or a Tottenham Hotspurs

Seriously? To the point of getting players to score 6 own goals?

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It's much more important that he is seen to do his job properly than to actually do it properly. Obviously, strategy isn't thought of as an honourable aspect of bushido.

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I wonder if he told Japan's national team to lose all games at world cups, too. Both teams certainly obeyed.

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so that his team would advance beyond the preliminaries as the group runner-up, and therefore avoid facing the tournament’s top-seeded team in the knockout round.

He was just doing his job ! What a load of nonsense. Any professional soccer coach would do exactly the same if it meant the difference between facing a Barcelona or a Tottenham Hotspurs. Surely the format of that tournament (where the group winners get to face each other) should be the point in question ? The Japanese national team would do well to hire this guy..

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Somewhat sharp practice and not really the best example to set to kids.

When I was CIR in Joetsu, one of my friends was the ALT at this school. It was one of the better local schools, not a breeding ground for delinquents like Kasuga-chu was.

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He should be promoted to the post of Principal but ofcourse different school, different prefecture and different sports.

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Wow! What a coach.

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