Coach in Japan denies telling players to commit fouls

TOKYO — The head coach of a Japanese college football team has denied instructing his players to commit fouls against opponents after footage of a controversial tackle went viral.

In the video played widely on Japanese television, a Kwansei Gakuin quarterback is blindsided with a late hit by a Nihon University player in the May 6 game.

The hit occurred long after the quarterback released a pass. Japanese media reported the quarterback sustained ligament damage in his spine and injuries to his right knee and will need at least three weeks to recover.

The player who made the hit also committed two other fouls and was thrown out of the game.

Japanese media reported that Nihon University head coach Masato Uchida told his players to commit fouls, a claim the university's communication department has denied.

The Kanto Collegiate Football Association has canceled three of Nihon University's preseason games scheduled between Sunday and June 10.

The hit drew the attention of the Japan Sports Agency which has launched an inquiry. The head of the JSA, Daichi Suzuki, described the hit as "a dangerous act" that "merited a straight red card."

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