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Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010

Omiya president plans to resign

SAITAMA (Kyodo) Omiya Ardija president Seigo Watanabe said Tuesday he will resign after an in-house investigation uncovered that the J. League first-division club had padded out crowd figures over the past three years.

Watanabe said Omiya had inflated their attendance since November 2007, when Ardija moved into NACK5 Stadium where the official capacity is listed at 15,300.

In all, Omiya bloated their figures by 111,737 during the period in question.

Watanabe said two team officials who are responsible for the falsities will step down in what has become one of the worst scandals in the history of the J. League.

He added they had been pressed to meet the club's target of drawing 300,000 in a single season by 2009.

"The problem was no one else was involved. It was poor management," said Watanabe, who was in tears during an apology-fueled news conference.

"It's embarrassing, but I wasn't aware of the J. League's standards for defining attendance."

The J. League defines official attendance as the number of people who actually pass through the turnstiles, plus VIPs and handicapped spectators as well as their helpers.

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