POSTED: December 16th 2008

Tokyo shares star billing

Tokyo delight: FIFA president Sepp Blatter presents Milan's Paolo Maldini with the Club World Cup in last year /
Tokyo delight: FIFA president Sepp Blatter presents Milan's Paolo Maldini with the Club World Cup in last year /

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communciations

TOKYO: Japanese hosts Gamba Osaka face Manchester United on Thursday and Pachuca of Mexico play LDU of Ecuador Wednesday in the Club World Cup which is showcasing Tokyo as a centre of world sport.

Staging the event in and around Tokyo has given the local 2016 Olympic bid committee a further opportunity to showcase both the city’s organisational expertise and its passion for international sport.

Stadia featured in the seven-team tournament have included the Kasumigaoka National Stadium in Tokyo, which was built to be main venue for the 1964 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Wednesday and Thursday's semi-finals and then the final are being played in Yokohama’s International Stadium, Japan's largest venue with a 72,327 capacity and stage for the 2002 World Cup Final in which Brazil beat Germany 2-0.

Thus far the Club World Cup has seen Adelaide United (Australia) beat Waitakere of New Zealand 1-0 in the first round then lose 1-0 to Gamba in the quarter-finals. Pachuca beat Egypt’s Al-Ahly 4-2 after extra time in the other other quarter-final.

Confidence and pride in Tokyo’s organisational capacity has been expressed by Shunichiro Okano, bronze medalist at the 1968 Games and president of the Japan Football Association during the 2002 World Cup.

Global audience

He said: “I am pleased that Japan is again hosting one of FIFA's most prestigious competitions which, given its global audience, demands top-class facilities and organisation. In recent years, Japan has successfully staged major international sporting events including the 2002 World Cup, demonstrating our world-class credentials in these areas.

“I worked tirelessly to fulfill my dream of bringing the World Cup to
Japan and my dream now is to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Tokyo.”

Dr Ichiro Kono, chairman and ceo of Tokyo 2016, said: “Japan is passionate about sport and football is no exception. Thanks to strong infrastructure and incredible venues, Tokyo is well-equipped to stage leading global sports events.

“We hope that this will enable us to stage the biggest sporting event of all in the heart of Tokyo in 2016, uniting generations in Japan and across the world with sport and healthy living."

Tokyo 2016 claims its Games plan to be the most compact and sustainable in Olympic history, with 95pc of Olympic and Paralympic venues positioned within an eight-kilometre radius of central Tokyo.

The International Olympic Committee will select the host city for the 2016 Games in Copenhagen next October. Competing against Tokyo are Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Chicago.

Keywords · Club World Cup · Olympic Games 2016 · Tokyo

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