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Controversy Reigns In Shikoku Play-off
Controversy to report from the Shikoku League promotion play-offs, the final matches of which were played on Sunday. With the bottom two teams from the 2005 Shikoku League matched up against the top two teams from the four-way Prefectural League play-off, things were bound to be tight - and so it proved as Sanwa Club from Kochi prefecture retained their place at regional level for 2006, drawing 2-2 in the second leg to win 8-7 on aggregate over Hisaeda FC of Ehime.

The other tie, however, saw Tokushima Vortis Caballos - an amateur side not surprisingly connected to J2 outfit Tokushima Vortis - take on Kochi's Showa Club, who had finished dead last in the Shikoku League but in the first leg of the play-off had demonstrated that they were not about to accept relegation without a fight. For Showa triumphed 1-0 in Kochi, travelling to Tokushima, therefore, with a sense of optimism.

07 Feb 06 - Tokushima Vortis Amateurs, now aka Tokushima Vortis Caballos

Tokushima Vortis Amateurs, now aka Tokushima Vortis Caballos

The first 45 minutes of the second leg were goalless, but Caballos levelled the aggregate score a quarter of an hour from time. Five minutes later, Showa were stunned when the referee blew not for what they had thought was an obvious dive in the penalty area from a Tokushima striker, but for a spot kick.

Duly converted, the club from Kochi were 2-1 down and heading out of the Shikoku League, but even after the final whistle the arguments still raged - especially when it emerged that the referee was himself from Tokushima, despite the fact that the official in the first leg had hailed not from Kochi, but from Ehime. The story ends with dark accusations being made by Showa in the direction of the Tokushima Prefectural FA, suspected of trying to fast-track Caballos to promotion in order to follow on from the success elsewhere of another amateur side, JEF United Amateurs.
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