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Japan opts out of hosting Club World Cups

Japan Football Association (JFA) President Junji Ogura said on Wednesday that plans to keep FIFA's seven-team Club World Cup in the country beyond 2012 have been put on ice.

"If we have it every year, it makes it difficult to host other competitions," Ogura told reporters.

"If we want to stage the Under-20 World Cup or the Women's World Cup it makes sense not to bid [for the Club World Cup in 2013 and 2014]."

Japan produced a stunning triumph at the Women's World Cup in Germany earlier this year, giving the nation a major shot in the arm after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.

Their astonishing run in July, beating the United States in a penalty shootout, overshadowed any achievement by an Asian football team at any level of the game.

The Club World Cup, which begins on Thursday, returned to Japan this year after being held in Abu Dhabi the past two years.

European champions Barcelona and Brazil's Santos, South American Libertadores Cup holders, join the competition at the semi-final stage. The final is in Yokohama on December 18.

Tickets for all three games in Yokohama are sold out, tournament organisers said on Wednesday.

Club World Cup organising committee boss Chuck Blazer underlined FIFA's support of Japan following the March 11 disaster in country's northeast.

The nuclear meltdown at a plant north of Tokyo triggered by the giant tsunami wave had briefly threatened to force the relocation of the tournament as sport in the country was plunged into chaos.

"FIFA is assisting with six projects in different venues, and donating $6 million," said Blazer.

"The fact we indicated earlier this year that we would be going ahead with the tournament here was crucial in showing support for Japan and local football here."