Monday, February 20, 2006

Oceania 'request' changes FIFA 2006 Club Cup

The Organising Committee for the FIFA Club World Cup met on 16 February to review the 2005 event and discuss plans for the 2006 competition in Japan this December, which will again be presented by Toyota.

During its review of the 2005 tournament, the committee praised the Japan Football Association and Dentsu Inc (Executive Event Producer) for their excellent cooperative work with the FIFA administration to put on a truly world class event covering seven matches, including the Final played before 67,000 spectators and broadcast in 194 countries and territories.

Looking forward to 2006, the committee confirmed that it would adopt the same competition format as 2005 with the six continental champions, again seeding the CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores and UEFA Champions League winners into the semi-final stage and thus maintaining a two-match maximum for these teams.

In recognition that Oceania's club football structure has changed significantly since the departure of Australia to the Asian Football Confederation on 1 January 2006, the Oceania Football Confederation "requested that the committee consider modifying its entry into the competition in order to assist the development of the region's club teams."

Based on this request, the committee decided that the OFC Club Championship winners should play an opening round match against a team from the host association - Japan's 2006 J-League champions - for a spot in the quarter-finals. The winning team would then advance to play the AFC Champions League, CAF Champions League or CONCACAF Champions' Cup winners as determined by draw. This proposal will be submitted to the FIFA Executive Committee for ratification at its next meeting on 16-17 March 2006.

In addition, the committee confirmed that it would retain the seven-match structure of the event by dropping the 5th place match in favour of the opening round match.

Match 1: Opening round (8 Dec.) - Team A (2006 J-League champions) v. Team B (OFC Club Championship winners)
Match 2: Quarter-final 1 (10 Dec.) - Team C v. Team D (C/D determined by draw)
Match 3: Quarter-final 2 (11 Dec.) - Winner Match 1 v. Team E (E determined by draw)
Match 4: Semi-final 1 (13 Dec.) - Winner Match 2 v. CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores winner
Match 5: Semi-final 2 (14 Dec.) - Winner Match 3 v. UEFA Champions League winner
Match 6: 3rd/4th place (17 Dec.) - Loser Match 4 v. Loser Match 5
Match 7: Final (17 Dec.) - Winner Match 4 v. Winner Match 5

See also: FIFA 'to allow' host team at 2006 Club World Cup (14 Feb) and Sao Paulo crowned FIFA's Club World Champions (19 Dec)

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