- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

ZURICH (AP) - The president of the Japanese football association still expects FIFA’s next executive committee meeting to take place in Japan, despite a decision by soccer’s ruling body to reconsider its original plan during this week’s session in Zurich.

The meeting had previously been scheduled for Dec. 17-18 during the Club World Cup in Japan. However, FIFA announced Tuesday that the “place and date” would be decided this week, surprising some officials in Zurich.

JFA President Kuniya Daini told The Associated Press on Wednesday through a translator he “hasn’t heard anything official” about where the event will take place, but expects it to be in Japan.

Hosting the meeting at the home of FIFA in Zurich would significantly diminish the risk of arrests, including of FIFA President Sepp Blatter, amid separate U.S. and Swiss investigations into corruption in world soccer. Football officials have been reluctant to visit countries which have an extradition treaty with the United States, which spearheaded the main investigation earlier this year.

The change in date and place of December’s meeting was added as the last item in the agenda for this week’s meeting, which takes place Thursday and Friday at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich.

When asked about whether he thought the December meeting would still take place in his home country, Daini didn’t hesitate and said “yes.”

He said, through the translator, that the only certainty now is that “originally it would be hosted in Japan.”

Tashima Khozo, a Japanese member of FIFA’s executive committee, said he also hadn’t heard anything official about the place of the committee’s next meeting.

FIFA has not officially said Japan has been dismissed as a location. The original decision to host the event in the Asian country was made about a year ago, but now the governing body wants to study whether that is indeed the best venue for the important meeting, the last before Blatter is to step down in February.

If the committee decides not to meet in Japan, one option could be to create a rare five-month gap between executive sessions and to hold the session in Zurich ahead of the extraordinary congress on Feb. 26, when Blatter’s successor will be elected.

FIFA’s agenda for this week’s meeting was signed by acting secretary general Markus Kattner, who was promoted last Thursday after his boss Jerome Valcke was suspended from duty following allegations about a proposed black market deal for 2014 World Cup tickets. Valcke denies any wrongdoing.

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tazzoni

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