USWNT NEWS

Japan cancels U.S. tour due to swine flu

May 12, 2009

TOKYO -- The Japanese women's soccer team canceled a tour in the United States on Tuesday because of the swine flu outbreak.

The team was scheduled to play the U.S. team on May 20 in Frisco, Texas, and May 23 in Sandy, Utah. The team was to travel to Canada for a match in Toronto on May 25.

Japan's health ministry confirmed the fourth case of swine flu on Sunday, a day after the country's first three were reported. The ministry said the fourth case is a teenager who recently returned from Canada on a high school trip with the three others.

The Japan Football Association, which announced the decision, said it may have to pay damages for breach of contract.

"This is an unfortunate situation, but one that we had absolutely no control over," said U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati. "We have been assured that the risk to the participating teams is exceptionally low, but we accept the Japanese Federation's decision not to travel."

The U.S. team added a game against Canada in Toronto on May 25 to replace the matches against Japan.

Also Tuesday, Malaysian soccer officials canceled next month's Intercontinental Cup under-23 tournament because of the threat of swine flu.

The Football Association of Malaysia canceled the eight-team tournament after consulting with the nation's Health Ministry, the New Straits Times reported.

Among the teams that had been expected to play in the June 1-14 tournament were Brazil, Mexico and South Korea, which have each confirmed cases of swine flu.

The number of countries reporting swine flu cases stands at 31, with the World Health Organization confirming about 4,800 cases. At least 61 people have been killed by swine flu around the world: 56 in Mexico, three in the U.S., one in Canada and one in Costa Rica.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press