Soccer’s world governing body FIFA on Thursday gave the green light for this season’s Japanese club champion to play at the Club World Cup in Japan in December.
The Club World Cup organizing committee approved the participation of a host team at a meeting in Zurich.
Formerly known as the Club World Championship, the tournament contested between the club champions from the world’s six confederations was held in Japan last year but it failed to draw spectators because a host team was not involved.
Jubilo Iwata and Yokohama F. Marinos both failed to qualify for the lucrative tournament after they were knocked out in the group stages of the Asian Champions League, leaving Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad to represent Asia at the Club World Championship.
With the increase in the number of teams, FIFA said the 2006 tournament will be held over 10 days instead of eight. The Japanese champion will face the Oceania champion on Dec. 8 with the final set for Dec. 17.
FIFA will make a formal decision on the fixture schedule at an executive committee meeting in March.
Japan hopes to get approval from FIFA to stage the event in 2007 and beyond.
FIFA staged the first world club championship in Brazil in 2000 but pulled the plug on the competition in 2001 after the collapse of marketing partner ISMM/ISL.
The Club World Championship replaced the Toyota Cup, which had been played in Japan between the champion of South America and Europe to decide the world’s best team until 2004.
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