Sydney: Less than 24 hours after Japan`s shock Asian Cup quarter-final defeat to United Arab Emirates, the Japan Football Association said it would retain the services of coach Javier Aguirre, who is currently embroiled in a match-fixing scandal.
Aguirre was among 41 people named by Spain`s anti-corruption prosecutor, who filed a case in a Valencia court in December following a probe into Real Zaragoza`s 2-1 win at Levante on the final day of the 2010-11 campaign.
The victory ensured Zaragoza, coached by Aguirre at the time, avoided relegation.
The prosecutor alleges that the Levante players were paid a total of 965,000 euros ($1.2 million) in cash to deliberately lose the game with the Mexican named as one of three people who distributed the money to their opponents.
Aguirre has repeatedly denied the claims and the JFA conducted its own probe of the allegations.
While Japan`s early exit from the Asian Cup will no doubt add to calls for Aguirre to step down, JFA chief Kuniya Daini said on Saturday they were not cutting the Mexican loose.
"When the initial report that the court case had been accepted came out, usually in these situations the report tends to be right," Kyodo News quoted Daini as saying on Saturday at Sydney airport before flying back to Japan.
"We are checking every day to see if the case has been accepted or not and so far we have not been able to confirm it and we are sticking with Aguirre.
"Once we know for sure whether it has or has not been accepted we will explain our position. From our point we are praying that the case has not been accepted."
Defending champions Japan crashed out of the Asian Cup in a shootout on Friday after a game they dominated from start to finish.
Daini said the schedule had not helped Japan, and despite exiting the tournament before the last four for the first time since 1996, the JFA chief said they were on the right track under Aguirre.
"It was a game we should have won," said Daini, adding that the UAE had more time to recover before the knockout stage.
"I don`t mean to make excuses but we only had two days off in between. We created lots of chances and I think we are becoming a better team.
"I think the players have got first-hand understanding of how tough the competition is in Asia."