Football: Japan coach Aguirre denies Spain match-fixing allegations

Japan's national soccer team head coach Javier Aguirre walks into a news conference at the Japan Football Association headquarters in Tokyo Dec 27, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Japan's national soccer team head coach Javier Aguirre walks into a news conference at the Japan Football Association headquarters in Tokyo Dec 27, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan coach Javier Aguirre on Saturday denied allegations that he was part of a match-fixing scandal that has rocked world football.

Prosecutors in Spain allege that the 56-year-old and 40 others were involved in rigging a league match that saw Real Zaragoza defeat Levante 2-1 to avoid relegation.

The former Mexico coach is due to appear in a Valencia court in February following a probe into the allegations dating back to 2011, when he was manager of Real Zaragoza.

"I spent 12 years with Spanish football. I have not been involved in anything that goes against ethics and professionalism," Aguirre said through a Japanese translator at a press conference in Tokyo.

"I have not received anything. I have not asked for anything," he said, vowing to cooperate with authorities.

Prosecutors allege that Zaragoza paid a total of 965,000 euros (S$1.56 million) into the bank accounts of certain of its coaches, staff and players who then gave the money to Levante's players as a "bribe".

The Japan Football Association has said that Aguirre will stay on for next month's Asian Cup in Australia, despite the allegations.