Japan passes on future Club World Cups to focus on women’s football

Morocco appeared poised to host the 2013 and 2014 events after FIFA confirmed in October that Iran, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had withdrawn their bids. A final decision on the destination of the two tournaments is set to be made this month, with Morocco set to become the first African country to stage the event. Since Brazil staged the inaugural edition in 2000, the event has moved to Japan (2005-08) and the UAE (2009-10). Japan is set to stage the 2011 and 2012 editions.

Ahead of the 2011 Club World Cup, which kicks off in Toyota today, JFA president Junji Ogura stated that the country had shelved plans to retain the hosting rights in a bid to put itself in a better position to secure leading women’s events. Japanese women’s football is currently riding the crest of a wave after the national team lifted the World Cup in July, defeating the United States in a penalty shoot-out. “If we have it every year, it makes it difficult to host other competitions,” Ogura said of the Club World Cup. “If we want to stage the Under-20 World Cup or the Women’s World Cup it makes sense not to bid (for the Club World Cup in 2013 and 2014).”

Meanwhile, Chuck Blazer, Club World Cup Organising Committee chairman, has claimed that the 2011 tournament underlines FIFA’s support of Japan in the wake of March’s earthquake and tsunami which devastated the northeast of the country. “I think it (the Club World Cup) is a wonderful opportunity, after those natural tragedies, to be of assistance,” said Blazer. “FIFA is assisting with six projects in different venues, and donating US$6 million. I also think the fact that we indicated earlier this year that we would be going ahead with the tournament here was crucial in showing support for Japan and local football.”