OUAFC (Oxford University Association Football Club) is planning to embark on a very exciting tour of Japan this December. OUAFC last visited Japan in 1969, when a combined Oxford and Cambridge team competed in televised fixtures at the Japanese National Stadium in Tokyo, and enjoyed an itinerary which included a visit to the Japanese royal family. Things have changed a little bit since then! Football in Japan has become much more professionalised, whilst football at Oxford no longer has the elevated status it did in 1969 when the Varsity Match was still being held at Wembley Stadium.
It is hoped that a tour to Japan will follow on from the huge success of the 2012 Ivy League Tour, when OUAFC competed against Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and Yale. Such tours ensure that football remains one of the ways in which the University fosters ties with its alumni as well as with other prestigious institutions abroad, helping to promote valuable cultural exchange between important centres of learning and academia.
Fixtures have been organised against four highly-regarded Japanese universities: Tokyo Institute of Technology (9th Dec), University of Tokyo (12th Dec), Kyoto University (14th Dec) and Osaka University (16th Dec). Several other events have also been scheduled in conjunction with these institutions, including sightseeing trips, home-stays with students, dinner with a Japanese celebrity guest speaker and a soccer school with Japanese primary school students. Funding is needed to help subsidise the expenses of travel and accommodation, so that we can take as large a squad as possible, ensuring that squad selection is based entirely on merit.