Brazil's Corinthians won the 2012 tournament
Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota have ended their sponsorship of the Club World Cup, bringing a conclusion to a 35-year period that included the rebirth of the Intercontinental Cup as a Japan-hosted competition.
The company chose not to renew their agreement after it expired in December, leaving FIFA the challenge of finding a new title partner.
Toyota first sponsored the International Cup in January of 1981, when Uruguay’s Nacional beat England’s Nottingham Forest in front of a sold-out crowd in Tokyo’s National Stadium. The annual match between the UEFA and CONMEBOL champions brought top clubs such as Milan, Boca Juniors, Bayern Munich, and Liverpool to Japan, igniting interest in a sport that at the time lagged in popularity and recognition behind baseball and sumo wrestling.
Following the conclusion of the Intercontinental Cup in 2004, Toyota continued to present the Club World Cup which was held in Japan from 2005 to 2008 and again in 2011 and 2012.
“We would like to express our thanks to all of the football fans as well as officials and staff who gave us an opportunity to support this tournament,” a Toyota official told Japanese newspaper Hochi.
While previous Japan-hosted editions of the Club World Cup have included matches played at Toyota Stadium, located in the same city as Toyota’s headquarters, Japanese media have reported that Osaka’s Nagai Stadium is being considered as a new venue alongside International Stadium Yokohama, which last hosted the Club World Cup final in 2012.
Toyota are the second major Japanese company to end a major FIFA sponsorship in recent months following Sony’s decision to part ways with football’s governing body last fall.