FIFA to rule on Okazaki move

TOKYO - World football's governing body FIFA will later on Tuesday rule whether Japan striker Shinji Okazaki can play for German Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart, news agency Kyodo quoted an official from Japan's football federation as saying.

Stuttgart announced the signing of Asian Cup winner Okazaki from Shimizu S-Pulse last month, but Shimizu are accusing the German club of making procedural errors, including not seeking their agreement before any deal was made.

JFA vice president Kozo Tashima said the JFA would take a neutral stance, Kyodo reported.

"We do not intend to act as a mediator in this and the German Bundesliga is the same way. We are leaving the ruling up to FIFA," said Tashima.

Shimizu said Stuttgart neglected to inform them of negotiations with Okazaki and also entered into a contract with him while his contract with the J. League club was still valid.

"S-Pulse congratulates Shinji Okazaki on attracting attention from such an esteemed club and feels this is a great achievement," S-Pulse said on their website.

"However, the announcement has caused S-Pulse some embarrassment, as its agreement was not sought before it was made," it said.

"S-Pulse represents, and has the support of, its shareholders, supporters, sponsors, players, staff and many other people and related parties. S-Pulse thus cannot be seen to be allowing the transfer of a player which is against FIFA regulations."