They didn’t win the gold, but the Japanese women’s soccer team does get silver, and this: Coach Norio Sasaki said the team will be sitting pretty in business class for the return to Tokyo. Maybe.
"The Japan Football Association is trying to work something out," Sasaki told Kyodo News. "When we came here we came in premium economy and there wasn't a problem. The problem is when we go back there will probably not be enough business seats available. If that's the case we will be in premium again."
Team members were more than a little peeved last month when they got on the plane to London. Up in business class was the Japanese men’s team, while the women’s team, which won last year’s World Cup, sat in economy class.
At the time, Japanese soccer officials explained that the reasoning behind the decision was that men were professional players and the women were merely semi-pros. They pointed out that the women were indeed “upgraded” to premium economy. We assume that means they got two bags of peanuts instead of one, and a choice of both Bud and Bud Lite.
Homare Sawa, the current FIFA women's World Player of the Year, said “it should have been the other way around” for their flight to London.
What did flying for 13 hours in the good seats do for the men’s team in London? It might have helped them get to the semifinal, where they lost to Mexico 3-1 on Tuesday. Even if officials can’t score them a cushy ride home, the women’s team at least has bragging rights back home.
Above image by Associated Press