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By ESPN Staff
Dec 9, 2006

FIFA may give automatic berth to hosts in CWC

TOKYO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - FIFA is considering granting an automatic berth to a representative from the host country in the Club World Cup and expanding the number of teams from six to eight, a senior federation official said on Saturday.

Viacheslav Koloskov, chairman of the competition's organising committee, told a news conference a decision would be taken by the world governing body's executive committee.

'There is a proposal to increase the number of countries to eight, including a berth for the host country, because the Club World Cup is the only FIFA World Cup where the host country is not involved,' Koloskov said.

'The FIFA Executive Committee understands there is room for improvement and the issue will be discussed further.'

Speaking a day before the start of this year's event, Koloskov said it was important to maintain the tournament's prestige. Currently only the club champions from the six continental confederations take part.

He also said that any country planning to dislodge Japan as host of the tournament would have to meet the same standards as the Japanese.

'FIFA has already taken the decision that the next edition will be in Japan in 2007 and we would like to see if any other countries can organise such a competition in the same time frame,' he said.

'The new bidders will have to at least provide similar conditions to those we have today or better if that is possible.'