Spain have declined an invitation to take part in the Copa America, but Japan may be set to backtrack on their decision to pull out.Japan, together with regular participants Mexico, were originally invited as one of two guest teams that make up the 12-nation tournament, which is scheduled to take place in Argentina in July.
Japan announced their decision to pull out in early April, citing disruptions to their domestic and international calendar caused by the devastating earthquake that hit the country on March 11.
World and European champions Spain were then invited by the South American Football Federation (CONMEBOL) to fill the vacant spot.
But the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have chosen not to accept due to their own busy timetable.
“The RFEF’s board appreciated the invitation made by the president of the South American football confederation, Nicolas Leoz, to participate in the Copa America, but have declined for calendar problems,” the RFEF said in a statement.
“This isn’t the first time Spain have received an invitation to play in the Copa America but the dates and the tight competition calendar have always made it impossible to participate.”
“The board do not rule out the possibility of accepting a future invitation.”
Japan have since indicated that they may be willing to participate in the tournament after all, provided CONMEBOL secures the release of their Europe-based players.
“We will take part on condition that we call up a certain number of overseas-based players in a way to minimise the impact on the J-League,” Japan Football Association technical director Hiromi Hara said.