(WFI) Japan will send its national team to Argentina after all.

The Japanese national team is nicknamed Samurai Blue. (JFA)
“We as the Japan Football Association reached the conclusion today that we will take part in the Copa America,” JFA vice president Kozo Tashima said Thursday during a news conference.
“We are preparing to send a letter to the South American Football Confederation about our participation.”
Japan’s commitment caps off a 10-day period in which JFA officials first informed Argentinean organizers of their intent to withdraw, then announced they were reconsidering that decision.
Football has been all but non-existent in Japan as the country struggles to rebound from the triple-blow dealt by a March 11 earthquake, subsequent tsunami and ongoing nuclear emergency.
J. League action, suspended since the 9.0-magnitude quake, restarts on April 23, with the five rounds of suspended games to be played in July, a period already blocked off to free players for the Copa America. 
The agreement reached yesterday at a JFA executive meeting will see Japan send a squad of primarily Europe-based players who would otherwise be enjoying a pre-season break at the time of the July 1-24 tournament.

Japan and Mexico are guests of CONMEBOL for the South American championships.

World Cup Hospitality Rights Up for Grabs
Bidding is underway for the right to sell hospitality packages to Brazil’s 2014 World Cup.
Swiss firm MATCH Hospitality AG has announced the opening of its tender
process for interested companies to become the exclusive brokers for their respective countries. 
“MATCH Hospitality is ensuring that football fans across the world have access to a wide product range that is competitive in content and pricing through a global network of qualified and experienced sales agents,” MATCH Hospitality executive chairman Jaime Byrom said in a statement.
As FIFA’s official hospitality partner through 2015, only MATCH Hospitality can select those agents.
Interested parties must formally register interest here by April 21.

Rights will be awarded in time for the World Cup preliminary draw slated for July 30 in Rio de Janiero.

Pepsi, MLS Renew Partnership
Pepsi will sponsor Major League Soccer for another four years. SportsBusiness Journal reported this week that the beverage giant has agreed to a deal worth an estimated $12 million.

Pepsi, water brand Aquafina and sports drink staple Gatorade will remain the official drinks of MLS under the renewed terms.
As one of the league’s founding partners, Pepsi has backed every season since 1996.



By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson

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