New Zealand scrap Japan match over safety fears

Updated: 18 March 2011 10:34 IST

New Zealand's football association said Thursday its team had scrapped a March 29 charity match against Japan, citing safety concerns amid the country's ongoing quake-triggered nuclear emergency.

New Zealand scrap Japan match over safety fears

Tokyo:

New Zealand's football association said Thursday its team had scrapped a March 29 charity match against Japan, citing safety concerns amid the country's ongoing quake-triggered nuclear emergency.

New Zealand Football (NZF) also said their under-17 team's preparation game for the FIFA under-17 World Cup in Fukuoka had been cancelled.

"These decisions were reached after a lengthy consultation process with government agencies, the Professional Footballers Association, team management and staff," NZF said on its website.

The Japan Football Association had proposed moving the match against New Zealand -- which saw a massive quake strike Christchurch last month -- from Tokyo to Osaka and turning it into a charity match.

But the New Zealand embassy in Japan "raised concerns about the timing of the match so close to the tragedies that Japan has suffered, and the possible health and safety risk to players, staff and management," NZF said.

"This has been a tough decision to make but with the match just two weeks away and media reports reflecting such great uncertainty surrounding the nuclear situation in Japan we believe it is prudent to err on the side of caution and withdraw our teams," NZF chairman Frank van Hattum said.

"At this time emotions are running extremely high in New Zealand, and sadly the decision to proceed with a football match in this context was not feasible," he added.

"Our hearts continue to be with the people of Japan and everybody affected by the earthquake as they focus on this period of recovery. New Zealand Football will work as hard as possible with the JFA to examine the possibility of rescheduling the fixture for a future date."

The 9.0-magnitude quake and monster tsunami waves on Friday devastated the coastal area northeast of Tokyo, and triggered a major emergency at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant.

Many high-profile sporting events including J-League football matches and pre-season baseball games have been called off in the aftermath of the disasters.

The world figure skating championships, set for Tokyo from March 21-27, have also been shelved.

Topics : Football New Zealand in India 2012 Pakistan New Zealand Maria Sharapova Japan
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