At the conclusion of the 5th session of the Organising Committee for the FIFA Club World Championship, FIFA General Secretary Dr Urs Linsi, Dr Viacheslav Koloskov, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the FIFA Club World Championship and Saburo Kawabushi, President of the Japanese Football Association, answered journalists' questions. Many subjects were tackled, ranging from how the organisation of Japan 2005 was progressing to the postponed use of "smartball" technology.
Dr Urs Linsi, General Secretary of FIFA
With regard to the FIFA Club World Championship TOYOTA Cup Japan 2005
FIFA is very pleased with the way preparations for this competition are progressing. This new format has generated a lot of interest among the teams that have qualified. Although Europe originally greeted this new format with some scepticism, I can assure you that this is no longer the case. Having paid a visit to Liverpool in person, I can tell you that the entire club has only one objective in mind: winning. They will, however, come up against very strong and highly motivated opponents.
Some 790 journalists have already been accredited, and more than 160 countries will broadcast the competition… We can be proud of these figures. I would also like to thank our friends in Japan and at Dentsu for this wonderful success story. Could a Japanese club qualify for this competition one day? They would have to win the Asian Champions League. Now that's a challenge!
Regarding the "smartball" technology
We decided with the IFAB to test the revolutionary technology of the smartball at the recent FIFA U-17 World Championship Peru 2005. We found this innovation to be of great interest. It's an excellent concept, but it still requires some adjustments.
Initially, we were planning to carry out further tests at the FIFA Club World Championship TOYOTA Cup Japan 2005, but we have finally had to abandon this idea. The fact is that, having consulted our long-standing partner adidas, it appears that the system has not yet been perfected. Therefore, it will not be tested either this month in Japan or next year at the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006™.
I am not qualified to explain to you the technical developments that are still required, but FIFA's objective is to achieve 100% reliability. All measures have been adopted to ensure that this revolutionary product will be used as soon as possible. The use of such a ball will have to be approved by the IFAB, which meets once a year. When it meets again in March, we will submit a report and discuss the possibility of testing this technology again after the FIFA World Cup 2006. Therefore, the earliest this ball will be able to be used is February 2007. It is also possible that we will be refused the opportunity to test this technology again.
However, I think that's unlikely as the first phase of testing produced very conclusive results. FIFA is very keen on this development and desperately wants to enable the referee to know in real time whether or not the ball has crossed the goal-line. I must stress the notion of "real time". FIFA must continually strive to move forward but is still opposed to the idea of play being stopped to allow video analysis. Mistakes are part of our sport.
Dr Viacheslav Koloskov, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the FIFA Club World Championship TOYOTA Cup Japan 2005
While the history of the FIFA Club World Championship has been marked by a few difficulties, this year's tournament promises to be outstanding. Our Japanese friends have presented us with a highly conclusive report on the preparations, and we are convinced that all the conditions are in place for a fine competition. We have also discussed issues surrounding refereeing, the Technical Studies Group programme and doping control. It has been decided that two players will be selected at random for testing after each match. In two days, we will be submitting a report on this meeting to the FIFA Executive Committee.
This tournament will also be held in Japan for the next 2-3 years, but the possibility of it being held elsewhere and on other dates in the future has not been ruled out. We already knew the best teams on each continent and wanted to find out which one is the best on the planet. That is what will be revealed on 18 December, on the night of the final of the FIFA Club World Championship TOYOTA Cup Japan 2005.
M. Saburo Kawabushi, Chairman of the Japanese Federation
Japan is very proud to be hosting this FIFA Club World Champions