BUENOS AIRES - Hosts Argentina persuaded
Japan on Tuesday to reconsider their decision to pull out of
July's Copa America.
Argentine Football Association (AFA) spokesman Jose Luis
Meiszner said Japan had been given 10 days to review their
initial decision to concentrate on the country's recovery from
last month's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
"There is a deadline of 10 days," Copa America organising
committee chief Meiszner told a news conference at the AFA's
Buenos Aires offices.
"Nothing has been settled. We met, we talked and we set a
deadline to see if Japan gets to the Copa America," he said
after a meeting between AFA president Julio Grondona and his
Japanese counterpart Junji Ogura.
Ogura, whose country had accepted an invitation to play in
the tournament for the second time, told South American Football
Confederation president Nicolas Leoz at their Asuncion
headquarters on Monday that Japan wanted to withdraw.
Nearly 28,000 people are dead or missing and thousands have
been left homeless as a result of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake
and massive tsunami that hit Japan's northeast coast. Sports
schedules are in chaos including the J-League football competition.
Japan, who played as a guest team at the 1999 Copa in
Paraguay, were drawn in Group A with Argentina, Bolivia and
World champions Spain said earlier on Tuesday they had been
invited to fill the gap left by Japan in the 12-team tournament
while another option was a CONCACAF country filling in.
Costa Rica, who have played in the tournament three times
and are coached by Argentine Ricardo La Volpe, are considered
favourites to come in.
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