Charter aircraft expenses & FIFA’s 4.2 million yen entry fee: Risks faced by Nadeshiko Japan, the most treated team in history. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Charter aircraft expenses & FIFA’s 4.2 million yen entry fee: Risks faced by Nadeshiko Japan, the most treated team in history.

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On July 14, captain Saki Kumagai receives a bouquet of flowers from Sawa Honoki, a key player in the 2011 championship, at a send-off match held in Sendai (Photo: Yohei Nagata/Afrosport)

The Women’s World Cup Soccer Tournament in Australia and New Zealand opened on April 20, and Japan’s national team, Nadeshiko Japan, which won its first match against Zambia 5-0 on April 22, will take on Costa Rica in the second match on April 26.

The Japan Football Association (JFA) is in a tight financial situation, having sold its building for more than 10 billion yen last year but still losing 4.8 billion yen, and in 2009, the year before that, it lost 1.7 billion yen. In addition, the JFA had great difficulty in renewing sponsorship contracts in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, but for the first time ever, the JFA covered the costs of a charter flight for Nadeshiko Japan and even provided a dedicated chef for the team. In addition, each player received $30,000 (about 4.2 million yen) from the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) whether they won or lost. Why on earth did this happen?

Chairman Kozo Tajima’s pledge to “strengthen and popularize women’s soccer.

Nadeshiko Japan thrilled all of Japan when they became the world champions at the 2011 tournament in Germany. It was right after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, and while Japan was gritting its teeth for recovery, Nadeshiko Japan’s success was like a ray of hope.

Compared to 12 years ago, we will be better prepared for the World Cup. We are going into the World Cup better prepared than we were 12 years ago. After all, this is a charter flight. We can go there on an all-Nadeshiko Airways (ANA) flight. This is the best. It was a dream come true.

Norio Sasaki, the head of the Women’s Committee of the Japan Football Association (JFA) and the current head of the JFA’s Women’s Training Committee, was more thrilled than anyone else with a smile on his face.

Nadeshiko Japan had previously used chartered flights paid for by the tournament, but this was the first time in the team’s history that the JFA paid for the flight. This is the first time in the team’s history that the JFA has borne the cost.

The JFA also decided to bring its own chef, Yoshiteru Nishi, a regular member of the men’s A team, to this year’s tournament. This will be an exceptionally high level of treatment for Nadeshiko Japan.

At the World Cup in 1999, Nadeshiko Japan won the world championship, thanks to the outstanding performance of Sawa Honoki and his teammates, but 12 years later, the latest ranking is 11th. However, 12 years later, Nadeshiko Japan is still ranked 11th in the world, second only to Australia in Asia. Despite this, Nadeshiko’s improved treatment can be attributed to the will of JFA President Kozo Tajima, who has been at the helm of the association since 2004.

Since assuming office, JFA President Tajima has made the “strengthening and popularization of women’s soccer” one of his pledges during his term in office. A reporter in charge of soccer revealed, “We should have had the World Cup in Japan.

Originally, the plan was to hold the World Cup in Japan. We had to pull out of the bid for the tournament at the last minute. We had no choice but to withdraw from the bid for the tournament at the last minute. Last minute” means “just before” the World Cup in 2008.

The “last minute” was in June 2008, just three days before the host city was decided. It was a decision that forced President Tajima to make a major change in his policies toward women’s soccer.

In FIFA’s report on the evaluation of potential host sites for the World Cup, which was released just prior to the decision, Australia and New Zealand took the top spot and unexpectedly came in second. The COVID-19 crisis and the recession that ensued at the time also had a major impact, as did the lack of success in attracting sponsors.

Nadeshiko Japan’s selection press conference for the World Cup. Behind President Tajima (far right) on his left is the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper (yellow frame), which he personally “promoted” to become a sponsor of Nadeshiko Japan (photo: Afro).

The start of the “WE League,” a professional women’s soccer league that opened in September 2009, was another of Chairman Tajima’s long-cherished wishes. She launched the professional women’s league because “my first priority is to make Nadeshiko Japan stronger,” she said.

I would like to propose that we can change Japanese society through this women’s league,” she said, adding that “the JFA is always thinking about the advancement of women in society,” she has insisted at every opportunity.

In recent years, the JFA has “invested” several hundred million yen each year to strengthen Nadeshiko and promote women’s soccer. However, the COVID-19 crisis spurred the JFA to sell its own building due to the tight annual budget. The JFA had not anticipated this situation.

The Yomiuri Shimbun took over the contract. The contract was signed with a newspaper that claimed the exact opposite of Asahi, so it became a hot topic of conversation among people involved in the soccer industry. It is said that the contract was decided through a “top sales pitch” between Chairman Tajima and Juichi Yamaguchi, the president of Yomiuri Shimbun and owner of the Giants. (Reporter in charge of the above-mentioned )

Chairman Tajima is such a big Giants fan that he says, “I grew up in the era of the Giants, Taiho, and fried eggs, so I can still tell you the batting order of the Giants’ V9 era. He has developed a relationship of trust with owner Yamaguchi and has been invited to the Giants’ pep rallies. The JFA and the Yomiuri Shimbun were not informed of the sponsorship contract with the top salesman until just before the decision was made.

FIFA has also made a concrete commitment to improve the status of women’s soccer, in the form of improving the difference in treatment between men and women.

The total prize money for the Women’s World Cup in 2007 (France, 24 participating countries) was 30 million dollars (about 3.3 billion yen at the time), but the total prize money for the Women’s World Cup in 2008 (Japan, 24 participating countries) was 30 million dollars (about 3.3 billion yen at the time). However, in this year’s tournament, the prize money will be paid to the athletes, The prize money paid to players at this year’s tournament will be $110 million (about ¥15.4 billion). FIFA President Gianni Infantino.)

Each player will receive at least $30,000 (about 4.2 million yen) as an entry fee. Upon hearing this, one of the Nadeshiko alumni, who won the World Cup in 2011, laughed bitterly and said, “We didn’t receive this much when we were playing.

The Nadeshiko Association was suffering from a shortage of funds, and President Tajima himself was scrambling to find the money. Despite this, Nadeshiko Japan was given the best treatment in the team’s history as they took on the World Cup tournament. The original target of a top eight finish was revised upward to “winning the championship. If they lose, the popularity of women’s soccer in Japan will fall to the ground. The Nadeshiko warriors who take the risk of going out on the pitch hold the fate of women’s soccer in their hands, whether it will grow or sink in the future.

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