The Costa Rican football federation (Fedefutbol) has released an official statement denying reports that they will replace Japan at the 2011 Copa America.
Fox Sports reported that Japan could withdraw from this summer’s Copa America as they are struggling to select a representative team for the tournament, and that Costa Rica could be set to take their place.
However, Fedefutbol denied that they had been contacted to take part, and a statement on their official website reads: “Fedefutbol wishes to announce that as of today, May 10, Costa Rica have not been officially approached regarding participation at the 2011 Copa America, to be held in Argentina in July.”
The Asian champions initially opted to withdraw from the Copa America following the earthquake and tsunami that struck the nation in March, but eventually reconsidered their decision following a request from tournament organisers.
Nevertheless, Japan could now withdraw after several clubs, who are under no obligation to supply personnel, were reluctant to release their players for the tournament. The likes of Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart, Koln and Inter reportedly would prefer to keep their Japanese players in Europe.
Earlier reports suggested that Dutch clubs such as Feyenoord, Vitesse and VVV were ready to allow participation, but it is unclear whether Japan will travel to South America following the recent developments.
An official statement regarding Japan’s involvement in the tournament is expected on Friday.