FIFA Futsal World Cup 2020 Japan Bid Activity
Interview with Chairman Ogura
Japan offers perfect option for FIFA Futsal World Cup 2020
As Japan Bid Committee accelerates its bidding activities in order to host the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2020, JFA Supreme Advisor and Chairman of Bid Committee OGURA Junji has no doubt that Japan is perfectly placed to put on a fantastic tournament.
“We have had much success at hosting major FIFA competitions such as the World Cup in 2002 and the Club World Cup since 2005,” the former JFA Honorary President, now serving as Japan Futsal Federation President and Japan Futsal League Chief Operating Officer, said.
“We are used to welcoming people from around the world, and already have the systems in place to provide a hospitable environment for players, fans, and media from overseas.
“In 2020 we have the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, which means there will be a real enthusiasm for sport in Japan, and also that the infrastructure necessary to embrace guests from abroad will all be in place.
“Everything will be set to organise an international tournament in Aichi, and we think it would be great to continue a fantastic year of sport in the country by adding the FIFA Futsal World Cup to the calendar.”
Selecting Aichi as the candidate city also provides many benefits for visiting teams and fans, with the prefecture located almost exactly in the centre of the country.
“In Aichi all the venues have clean facilities, there’s an international airport, and it’s possible to get to Kyoto in less than an hour and Tokyo in about an hour and a half, so it’s a great location – in many ways it’s incredibly convenient,” Ogura explained.
“Visitors can also enjoy the sightseeing in the region – they can go and visit Nagoya castle, for instance, or sample some of the delicious food in the region. Japan is a safe country and people can come here with peace of mind and enjoy the futsal and other things besides.”
Another positive of having all the venues situated within the same prefecture is that it would ease any transportation concerns for the players and other related parties – in keeping with the ‘players first’ ideal – as well as helping to achieve an eco-friendly tournament.
A further plus is that Japan’s most successful futsal team, Nagoya Oceans, hails from the region.
“Nagoya have won all nine seasons of the Japan Futsal League (F.League) and this year became the first team in AFC history to become Asian champions three times,” Ogura said. “Having that kind of team from Aichi further adds to the appeal of carrying out the tournament in the prefecture, and for us at the JFA it would be a great way to thank them for their success.
“This year marks the 10th anniversary of the F.League. There are 12 teams stretching all the way from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south, and there aren’t many leagues in Asia with that many teams and such a long history. In addition, we are launching the women’s futsal league this October. This is further proof that the sport is gaining in popularity in Japan”
That tradition and appetite for futsal – Japan has 792,368 futsal players, and the average yearly attendance of the F.League exceeds 200,000 fans – means that Japan would be the perfect host to help grow the sport’s popularity even further.
“We say, ‘anytime, anywhere, anybody’ about futsal, and that’s the reality,” Ogura concluded. “You can play anytime of the day, in almost any location – there are even courts on top of train stations, for instance, where people go for a game after a day at work – men and women can play in the same teams, and whole families can enjoy games in the arenas together.
“Holding the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2020 in Japan would undoubtedly lead to the number of futsal fans and players increasing domestically and across Asia as a whole.”