FIFA on Thursday announced Japan as hosts of the 2015 and 2016 Club World Cups, seeing the global tournament return to the Land of the Rising Sun for the first time in three years.
The decision has been considered a foregone conclusion after India, the only other country bidding to host the event, withdrew from consideration last year.
“This is a country with a proven track record when it comes to staging FIFA events, including six editions of the FIFA Club World Cup, which were all successful,” FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said in a statement. “We know it will be a superb setting once again for this annual competition with good-sized crowds and a wonderful atmosphere.”
The tournament will feature champions of all six FIFA confederations as well as the J-League Division 1 champions, who will be decided through the league’s new playoff format.
“[The Club World Cup] is a valuable opportunity for both players and fans to witness the world trends in club football,” Japan Football Association president Kuniya Daini added. “Not only does this competition bring exciting and entertaining football, it also gives us an insight into each participating country’s club culture and the respective domestic leagues.”
Host cities for the tournament will be announced on a future date; the 2012 Club World Cup, won by Brazil’s Corinthians, used Toyota Stadium in Aichi Prefecture as well as 2002 World Cup Final venue International Stadium Yokohama.