Urs Linsi: 'A reunion with friends'
Ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2006, the Organising Committee held a joint press conference. Those present included FIFA General Secretary Dr. Urs Linsi, Organising Committee President Dr. Viacheslav Koloskov, Japanese Football Association President Saburo Kawabuchi, and General Secretary and FIFA Executive Committee member Junji Ogura. Japan superstar Kazuyoshi Miura also took reporters' questions in his role as a Goodwill Ambassador. FIFA.com brings you the main points of interest.
Dr. Viacheslav Koloskov (Russia, Organising Committee President)
It was a very important meeting of the Organising Committee, as we wanted to ensure everything was ready for this tournament. A lot of work has gone into providing the best possible conditions. We can be certain that the tournament will be conducted at the highest possible level. We've registered a great deal of interest from all over the world. Some 1,800 members of the media have been accredited, and the tournament will be broadcast in 200 countries.
Asked where the next FIFA Club World Cup will be held:
It has been decided to hold the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup here in Japan. We initiated a tender process, to check whether there was another country capable of staging an event like this. However, any new applicant would have to offer the same excellent conditions provided by the Japanese Football Association (JFA) and Dentsu. For example, the stadiums must rate as world-class.
Asked why no Japanese team features at the tournament:
We had this discussion last year. The FIFA Executive Committee is aware there is definitely room for reflection in this respect. We've had a suggestion to increase the number of teams to eight, and that would include a team from the host nation. It's a very complex task. We're looking for a solution which would maintain the prestigious nature of the event on the one hand, but also allow us to include the host nation.
FIFA General Secretary Dr. Urs Linsi
When I arrived here this morning, it felt like I was coming home. I spent four weeks here at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and I was here last year for the FIFA Club World Cup. I recognise many faces, so it feels like a reunion with friends. Four years ago, we fell in love with this country and the way the World Cup was staged here. In terms of the organisation of this tournament, the teams have given us very positive feedback. Now we're hoping for a little more interest from the public. It's a privilege for us to be back in Tokyo. You can judge the status of the FIFA Club World Cup from the fact that 19 of the 24 Executive Committee members are here.
Asked to compare 2006 with previous tournaments
This is the third FIFA Club World Cup following previous tournaments in 2000 and 2005. Before that we had the Intercontinental Cup, but that only included teams from Europe and South America. But the other confederations have good teams too, and they naturally want to take part at this excellent tournament. The winner of this competition will be the world champion.
Kazuyoshi Miura ("Kazu"), FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2006 Goodwill Ambassador
It's a great honour to be chosen as the Goodwill Ambassador for this tournament. I'm 39 years old nowadays, but I'm still good enough to play. Maybe I should play here and help sell more tickets! Having a competition of this calibre featuring the best teams in the world here in Japan is definitely a little bit special.
On the reasons why the line-up does not feature a J.League club:
The players need to be better if they want to end up as Asian champions. We have to give even more support to the clubs and the players, so they'll eventually be strong enough to appear at this tournament. Japanese teams won't win the Asian Champions League without this support. We need to focus even more closely on the AFC Champions League, looking beyond our national borders and not just focusing on the J.League.