Monday, November 13, 2006

Jeonbuk to represent Asia in Club World Cup

K-League professional club, Jeonbuk Motors FC, the new winner of the AFC Asian Champions League, will resume training on South Korea's southernmost resort island of Jeju in preparation for the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan next month, a club official told Yonhap newsagency. Jeonbuk players will practice over two-weeks for their opening match against Club America of Mexico, who represent the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Football Associations (CONCACAF).

The annual Club World Cup hosts the champion clubs from six regions, including UEFA champions FC Barcelona. Last year, Brazilian team Sao Paulo won the competition in a 1-0 victory over UEFA Champions Liverpool of England.

If Jeonbuk succeed in beating Club America they then face off against FC Barcelona in the semifinals in Yokohama Stadium on 14 December. Clubs from UEFA and CONMEBOL representing South America are entitled to start their Club World Cup games from the semifinals.

Jeonbuk won the Asian title for the first time with a 3-2 aggregate victory over Syria's Al Karama in the final on 8 October and its players are likely to enjoy their prize money of US$600,000. "We're planning to award them satisfying bonuses according to each player's contribution in the league," Baek Seung-kwon, general secretary of the club, said. "They did contribute so much to boosting the image of their parent company, Hyundai Motors, directly and indirectly throughout the tournament." The promotion effect for Hyundai by Jeonbuk players is estimated at nearly $20 million.

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