FIFA raises prize money to $16 million for Club World Cup

By Xinhua

Geneva : The organizing committee for the 2007 Club World Cup in Japan has tightened its schedule and increased its prize money, the world football governing body FIFA has announced.

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The tournament will kick off its new seven-team, seven-match competition Dec 7 with a playoff between the winner of the 2007 J-League and Oceania champion Waitakere United of New Zealand.

The final is slated for Dec 16 in Yokohama.

Unlike previous tournaments, there is no match for fifth place.

The organizing committee also increased the tournament prize money by a million dollars to $16 million.

The winners earn $5 million, while the runner-up collects a million dollars less. The third-placed side receives $2.5 million.

The competition involves the winners of all six regional confederations, plus a host club.

Besides Waitakere United, CONCACAF champion Pachuca of Mexico already has qualified along with Copa Libertadores winner Boca Juniors of Argentina and the European Champions League winner AC Milan of Italy.

The winners of the Asian and African champions leagues also will qualify, as well as the winner of the Japanese league, which finishes Dec 1.

No country may have more than one team in the competition, which means if a Japanese club wins the AFC Champions League, the highest-placed non-Japanese club from that tournament would take the hosts’ berth.