Big purse for FIFA’s Club World Cup

PARIS: A revamped Club World Championship with six teams will be held in Tokyo from December 2005 with US$15 million prize money on offer, FIFA announced on Monday. 

Three months after announcing the bare bones of the competition, FIFA confirmed on Friday that it would take place from Dec 11-18 next year and that all six confederations had agreed to send their champion clubs. 

The annual championship will replace the current World Club Cup which has been played between the champions of South America and Europe most years since 1960. Those games have been staged in Tokyo since 1980. 

The European and South American champions will now join those from Africa, Asia, Oceania and Concacaf in the tournament that has so far been staged once in Brazil in 2000. 

The idea has been opposed by Europe's leading clubs, but their opposition may be tempered by the huge annual prize money on offer. 

The new competition was ratified by FIFA's executive committee meeting in Paris on Monday after the representatives of all of FIFA's confederations agreed their champion teams would be obliged to take part in the tournament. 

The format was agreed in London in February and it will last for eight days. The European and South American champions will be introduced at the semi-final stage, meaning they will play a maximum of two games. 

The four other teams will meet each other in a first round knockout match to decide who qualifies for the semi-finals. 

In February, the 102-strong European Club forum said it was totally opposed to the championship, but it would now seem that next season's European champion will have little option but to take part. 

In other matters, FIFA agreed to set up a task force to examine complaints lodged by the G-14 group of major European clubs with the Swiss Competitions Committee (COMCO). The G-14 want salary and insurance compensation for players called up for international duty. 

FIFA also confirmed that next year's Confederations Cup – the warm-up tournament for the 2006 World Cup Finals – would take place in Germany from June 15-29. – Reuters  

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