Preparations for the upcoming edition of the annual FIFA Club World Cup are underway as the prestigious competition gets set to return to Japan.

After last staging the event in 2012, Japan will play host again in 2015 and 2016, with this year’s FIFA Club World Cup confirmed for 10-20 December.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke says the experience of the Japan Football Association (JFA) in organising a number of major football tournaments will go a long way to ensuring further success for the event.

“This is a country with a proven track record when it comes to staging FIFA events, including six editions of the FIFA Club World Cup, which were all successful. We know it will be a superb setting once again for this annual competition with good-sized crowds and a wonderful atmosphere. The popularity and profile of the competition continues to build each year and this is sure to continue with the huge support shown within Japan,” says Valcke.

JFA President Kuniya Daini says the competition is important for Japan both in terms of development and the entertainment factor.

“It is a valuable opportunity for both players and fans to witness the world trends in club football. Not only does this competition bring exciting and entertaining football, it also gives us an insight into each participating country’s club culture and the respective domestic leagues. Together with FIFA, we will do our utmost to ensure the success of this competition. It will be an important experience for us as we look forward to hosting other major sporting events including the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The JFA has started working on the tournament and an announcement on the selected Host Cities will follow shortly. The event will feature the club champions of all six confederations (the AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, the OFC and UEFA) as well as Japan’s domestic champions.

The first FIFA Club World Cup was held in 2000 in Brazil. It has been an annual event since 2005, with Japan playing host in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012.

The impressive list of winners includes: SC Corinthians (2000 and 2012); FC Barcelona (2009 and 2011); FC Internazionale Milano (2010); Manchester United FC (2008); AC Milan (2007); SC Internacional (2006); Sao Paulo FC (2005); FC Bayern München (2013); and Real Madrid CF (2014).