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Football: Japan club fined over fan scuffle

02 july 2011, 16:59
Iran's coach Afshin Ghotbi. ©Reuters
Iran's coach Afshin Ghotbi. ©Reuters
Shimizu S-Pulse have been fined two million yen ($25,000) by the J-League after rival fans scuffled over a banner insulting the club's Iranian-American coach Afshin Ghotbi before a match, AFP reports.

The league also slapped Kashima Antlers with a one million yen penalty over the arrest of a then coach of their football school for indecent exposure.

The decisions were made by the league's arbitration committee on Thursday, the J-League said in a statement on its website.

"To Ghotbi, stop making nuclear weapons," the banner read in Japanese as it was hung by two visiting teenage supporters before Shimizu's home game against prefectural rivals Jubilo Iwata on May 28, according to video footage.

After a minor clash in the buffer zone, about 10 Shimizu supporters intruded into the visitors' section and slightly injured two Iwata supporters, the statement said.

The scuffle was blamed by the committee on the club's insufficient security measures.

The league also reprimanded Jubilo Iwata for the actions of their supporters. The club have already indefinitely banned the two teenage boys from J-League matches.

J-League chairman Kazumi Ohigashi told Japanese media on Thursday: "We determined that the banner was not of a racist nature."

Ghotbi, who took the helm at Shimizu after coaching Iran from 2009 to the Asian Cup in Qatar in January, told Kyodo news agency several days after the incident that he wanted to meet the youngsters.

"I actually suggested a meeting, to just sit down and maybe inform them that what they did is wrong," the US-educated 47-year-old said.

"Maybe that could be a great gesture. And also because they are young, it would give them an opportunity to do some right."

In the case of indecent exposure, Keisuke Gorai was arrested for showing his "lower body" -- a euphemism for genitals -- to three female passers-by, including a high school student, on a street in Hitachimaka city near Kashima's base in January, according to police.

The 28-year-old Gorai was discharged by the club in February.

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