The only way a J.League club will get an invite to the Club World Championship next year is if it wins the Asian Champions League, said FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Sunday.
Blatter is adamant FIFA will not change the tournament’s format to include a host nation club alongside the six continental champions of the confederation.
“A Japanese team has a very good chance of competing — when they are Asian champions,” Blatter said.
“We have said when we organize a Club World Championship we really need to have the champions of the six confederations competing.
“I know (Japan Football Association president) Kawabuchi is not happy a Japan team has not qualified,” Blatter continued, “but this competition must have six champions — this is the important point.
Next year’s tournament will be held in Japan from Dec. 10-17.
Al Ittihad is the Asian representative at this year’s tournament after winning the Champions League in July.
Yokohama F. Marinos and Jubilo Iwata both suffered embarrassing early exits from the competition, with Jubilo the last J.League club to win the cup in 1999.
Some suggested a local side competing this year would have raised interest among Japanese fans and boosted ticket sales.
There were swathes of empty seats throughout Tokyo’s National Stadium for Sunday’s opening match between Al Ittihad and Al Ahly.
Kazuyoshi Miura’s appearance for Sydney FC against Deportivo Saprissa in Monday night’s match, a 1-0 Deportivo win, attracted more than 28,000 fans to Toyota Stadium who hoped to catch a glimpse of the Japanese legend.
The inaugural Club World Championship was held in 2000 in Brazil, with poor ticket sales at some matches proving an embarrassment for FIFA.
It was then put on the backburner till this year after FIFA’s marketing partner went bust.
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