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Ex-Samurai Blue head coach Halilhodzic to sue JFA to restore honor

Former Japan soccer head coach Vahid Halilhodzic speaks during a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on April 27, 2018. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Former national head coach Vahid Halilhodzic is set to sue the Japan Football Association (JFA) to restore his honor after he was sacked just ahead of the FIFA World Cup Russia, it was learned on May 10.

According to an attorney representing Halilhodzic, the 65-year-old is planning to file suit at the Tokyo District Court later this month.

Halilhodzic was named to lead the Samurai Blue side in March 2015, and the team cruised through its qualifying group to make the World Cup finals for a sixth time. However, on April 7 -- just over two months ahead of the tournament's June 14 kickoff -- JFA President Kozo Tajima, 60, notified Halilhodzic of his removal citing "a lack of communication," among other reasons.

According to his attorney, Halilhodzic has remained in shock over the vaguely justified dismissal, and decided to take the case to court to have the JFA clarify the reason for his discharge and apologize for defaming him.

"The JFA press conference announcing his dismissal gave the general public the impression that Mr. Halilhodzic didn't listen to players' opinions and failed to communicate with them," said the attorney. "The lawsuit is aimed at getting to the bottom of the incident through a trial, and not at monetary gain."

Halilhodzic's representative sent a list of questions to the JFA after the association didn't respond to a request to give a detailed explanation of its reason for sacking him by May 10.

(Japanese original by Shohei Oshima, Sports News Department)

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