Gothia Cup to collaborate with the Japanese Football Association

Gothia Cup has signed a three year cooperation agreement with the Japanese Football Association and their highest league J. League. The agreement means that the association receiving the award for best youth club in Japan – Best Academy Club Award – sends its team for boys 16 years to participate in the Gothia Cup. – It feels good that after years of negotiations we have reached this agreement because it is part of our commitment to have some of the world's best clubs represented in the class B16, says Gothia Cup General Secretary Dennis Anderson.

The Japanese league J. League is one of the world's biggest leagues, this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. The new partnership also means that this year will be the first time that a Japanese team participates in the Gothia Cup. Thus, teams from 136 different nations have taken part in the tournament since the start in 1975.

– We welcome Japan into the large and growing Gothia Cup family. With the new partnership we will have a more international element in the tournament while still increasing the sporting quality of the exciting B16 class to the next level, says Dennis Andersson.

Mr Junji Ogura is the president of the Japanese Football Association and pleased that a collaboration now is established between the Gothia Cup and J. League.

– It's a great honour for us to participate in this large and prestigious tournament and we see our participation as a good opportunity to showcase Japanese football on the international arena.

Best youth club in Japan in 2011 were Tokyo Verdy, which was awarded the “Best Academy Award" after being the club that this year produced the highest number of players recruited to the top division. In addition, the club's team for boys 18 has the past two years won the Japanese youth championships.

– Tokyo Verdy is obviously one of the main favorites in the B16 class when Gothia Cup in 2012 is settled on July 15 to 21. But there are several strong opponents. In the B16 class we also find Paris FC from France and the Dallas Texans of the United States. In addition, last year's winners from Brazil – Cruzeiro – is back, so the Japanese can expect tough competition, says Dennis Andersson.

For more information:

Dennis Andersson, General Secretary Gothia Cup. Phone: +46-31-50 67 81. E-mail: dennis@gothiacup.se

Par Karlsson, Press Officer Gothia Cup. Phone: +46-708-12 27 30. E-mail: par.karlsson@gothiacup.se

www.gothiacup.se

Gothia Cup is the world's largest and most international youth football tournament that is being played every year in Gothenburg, Sweden. Gothia Cup was first held in 1975 and today over 35 000 players in 1570 teams from 70 different nations from around the world participates in the tournament. In 2007 Gothia Cup was named by FIFA as The World Youth Cup and in 2010 the tournament was appointed one of the 12 largest Swedish leadership achievements of modern times by the Swedish Centre of Commerce. SKF is the main partner of the Gothia Cup.

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