Coronavirus: Japan soccer president tests positive; U.S. Soccer says no ‘direct interaction’ with USWNT

Kozo Tashima, the head of the Japan Football Association announced that he has tested positive for coronavirus after visiting Europe and the United States, according to the Associated Press. The Japan women’s national team participated in this month’s SheBelieves Cup in the U.S. and faced the U.S. Women’s National Team. 

However, U.S. Soccer said it does not believe Tashima came in “direct” contact with any USWNT player, coach or staff member.

Here’s a statement U.S. Soccer sent to CBS Sports on Tuesday night:

As we gather more information, we do not believe at this time that there was any direct interaction between the president of the Japan Football Association and any player, coach or staff member of the United States Women’s National Team. Presently, no one associated with U.S. Soccer is displaying symptoms, and all players are currently at their homes, dispersed throughout the nation. Our medical staff is contacting the players and all involved, and we will continue to assess the situation closely. The health and safety of all employees with U.S. Soccer is our top priority and we will continue to take all appropriate precautions while continuing to follow CDC guidelines.”

Tashima, who is also the vice chairman of Japan’s Olympic Committee, visited Europe and the U.S. from Feb. 28 to March 8, according to the AP. The report says he had himself tested after Serbia’s FA president, who was sitting close to him at a UEFA meeting in Amsterdam in early March, tested positive himself.

“I have slight fever and pneumonia … but otherwise I’m doing fine,” Tashima said, according to the AP.

Tashima apologized to Japan Football Association officials, staff, and journalists after potentially exposing them to the virus.

“By facing squarely with the disease, I hope to contribute to eliminating prejudice against the new coronavirus,” he said. “I will cooperate in various research for the disease, and I will be back.”

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