Football Tribe SEA Editor
News came out from the headquarters of the Japan Football Association (JFA) on Tuesday that they have canceled a press conference scheduled to be held there as a person infected with coronavirus has been discovered within the headquarters. The person in question, is the JFA President himself, Kozo Tashima.
62-year old Tashima was re-elected to the FIFA Council by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in April of last year and he also serves as the vice president of the Japanese Olympic Committee. Tashima had recently concluded a three-country business trip, where he visited Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United States.
Departing Japan on February 28th, Tashima visited Northern Ireland for an annual meeting with the International Football Association Board (IFAB), before proceeding to Amsterdam on March 2nd and 3rd, where he met the UEFA board of directors. It was suspected that it was during this meeting the UEFA higher-ups that he had contracted the coronavirus, as Tashima sat near the president of the Football Association of Serbia (FSS), who in turn was tested positive for COVID-19 as well. Slavisa Kokeza, the president of the FSS, was declared coronavirus-positive by the FSS on March 14th.
After the meeting with the UEFA board of directors, Tashima went to the United States to attend the SheBelieves Cup, where he watched the match between the Japanese and the Spanish women’s national teams on March 5th. Prior to returning to Japan, Tashima had also went to New York City to lobby for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Tashima returned to Japan on March 8th, before going back and forth to the JFA HQ on a number of occasions to prepare for a board meeting scheduled for March 14th and attend a number of other meetings there, and on March 15th Tashima experienced chills and a low fever. Immediately, on March 16th, Tashima checked himself and reported his symptoms and his travel history, especially after hearing news that people from that UEFA meeting had been declared COVID-19 positive.
Despite being put into quarantine, Tashima has promised that his situation won’t hinder his work for both the JFA and the Japanese Olympic Committee, even though the quarantine meant that he would miss out on the start of the 2020 Olympics torch relay. Apologizing to those who he might have inadvertently infected, Tashima promises to be open and frank about his symptoms to the public as well as cooperating with researchers, in order to quell misconceptions about the virus.
J.League chairman Mitsuru Murai and vice-chairman Hiromi Hara have stated through the latter that although the two attended the JFA board meeting on March 14th, their presence was via videoconference and therefore they are not suspected of being infected in the time being.