Japan chief calls for referee ban

TOKYO - Japan's football chief wants a J-League official banned for missing a violent challenge that left national captain Yuji Nakazawa nursing a broken eye socket. Controversial referee Masaaki Iemoto, who has been suspended twice before, took no action after Nakazawa was floored by an elbow to the face during a J-League Cup game last week. "It's a total mystery how he missed that elbow," Japan Football Association chief Motoaki Inukai told Tuesday's Japanese media. "I asked (the referees' panel) to announce he would not be blowing a whistle next week. Players get suspended so a referee should too." Iemoto was banned last year when a card-happy performance triggered a pitch invasion after the 2008 J-League curtain raiser. The 36-year-old referee, who was also struck of the J-League's list in 2006, was ordered to submit to a "cooling off" period after dishing out three red and 11 yellow cards. Iemoto was criticised for not stopping play during last week's game with Yokohama F-Marinos defender Nakazawa crumpled on the turf after clashing with Gamba Osaka striker Lucas. The Japan international was stretchered off clutching his face and taken to a local hospital where scans showed a fracture to his right eye socket.