Shop Fantasy Central Golf Guide Email Travel Subscribe SI About Us Soccer World Cup Europe U.S. More

 
  WORLD SPORT
  soccer
scores
europe
u.s.
more
world cup
scoreboards
golf plus S
tennis S
baseball S
hockey S
formula one
olympic sports
athletics
cricket
rugby
winter sports
cycling
women's sports
more sports
ASIA SPORT
EUROPE SPORT
 U.S. SPORTS

EVENTS
 Sportsman of the Year
 Heisman Trophy
 Swimsuit 2001

CENTERS
 Fantasy Central
 Inside Game
 Video Plus
 Statitudes
 Your Turn
 Message Boards
 Email Newsletters
 Golf Guide
 Cities
 

CNNSI.com GROUP
 Sports Illustrated
 Life of Reilly
 SI Women
 SI for Kids
 Press Room
 TBS/TNT Sports
 CNN Languages

COMMERCE
 SI Customer Service
 SI Media Kits
 Get into College
 Sports Memorabilia
 TeamStore

Called off

World Club Championship gone until 2003

Click here for more on this story
Posted: Friday May 18, 2001 12:17 PM
Updated: Friday May 18, 2001 3:39 PM
  Sepp Blatter FIFA president Sepp Blatter said several factors contributed to FIFA's decision not to go ahead with the event. Graham Chadwick/Allsport

LONDON (Reuters) -- FIFA has postponed the 2001 World Club Championship, due to kick off in Spain at the end of July, until 2003, officials said on Friday.

FIFA blamed financial problems and a congested fixture list for the postponement which is a major embarrassment for world soccer's ruling body and its president Sepp Blatter.

The tournament, which FIFA had been planning to extend from 12 to 16 teams, was set for only its second edition in Spain.

It would have involved clubs who have won major championships in FIFA's six continental confederations plus a host team, Deportivo Coruna.

Blatter said: "The decision not to go ahead with this event as scheduled has been taken on account of various factors."

FIFA's statement identified three main reasons for the setback.

"The period during which the competition was to be staged is particularly inconvenient from the perspective of national and international fixtures [national leagues and Champions League qualifiers are in progress].

ISL troubles

"The economic crises affecting the countries of some of the participating clubs further heighten existing commercial difficulties."

The third hurdle was the financial problems of ISL Worldwide, which was responsible for marketing major FIFA tournaments including the World Cup in 2002.

FIFA said on Thursday it had terminated its marketing agreement with ISL Worldwide after French media group Vivendi ended talks on a takeover of ISL's troubled parent company ISMM.

On Friday, FIFA said: "The current commercial market has been considerably disrupted by the problems confronting ISL/ISMM. This has left FIFA's marketing partner for the event, Traffic, confronted by major difficulties in selling the 2001 edition to sponsors and broadcasters."

FIFA added: "With the 12-team tournament just over two months away and given the fact that FIFA will have to take on additional responsibilities due to the imminent bankruptcy of ISL/ISMM...the Emergency Committee also felt that it was essential for FIFA to readjust its focus to these issues."

FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren said the impending bankruptcy of ISL had been the final straw.

"If you are already facing two difficulties it would be too much to take on another," he told Reuters.

Hosts consulted

FIFA said it had discussed the matter with the tournament's would-be hosts, the Spanish Football Federation.

The inaugural club championship, won by Brazil's Corinthians, took place in January last year in Brazil and the event in Spain was due to take place from July 28 to August 12.

Clubs taking part would have included Argentina's Boca Juniors, Palmeiras of Brazil and Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal.

Prize money totaled 40 million dollars with the winners taking home eight million.

FIFA's eight-member emergency committee made the decision to postpone the event through correspondence and sent their confirmation in writing to the world body's Zurich headquarters.

"The members were all briefed and had all the necessary information including the details of the ISL decision as soon as it became available," said Herren. "They were given a straight question -- go ahead or postpone given all the information."

 
Related information
Multimedia
Visit Multimedia Central for the latest audio and video
Search our site Watch CNN/SI 24 hours a day
Sports Illustrated and CNN have combined to form a 24 hour sports news and information channel. To receive CNN/SI at your home call your cable operator or DirecTV.

Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


CNNSI Copyright © 2001
CNN/Sports Illustrated
An AOL Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.