FIFA president Sepp Blatter has revealed that he will reconsider Oceania’s inclusion in the Club World Cup after another poor performance in this year’s tournament.
“We have to make sure to protect the competition at the highest possible level,” he said. “If you want to have a FIFA Club World Cup, we need to have professional clubs playing.”
New Zealand’s Waitakere United, who described themselves as “semi-professionals,” were beaten 3-1 by Iran’s Sepahan in a preliminary play-off at the tournament.
“This year it was evident that there is a difference of the level of competition and this is one matter that will be immediately discussed in the (FIFA) organising committee first and then by the FIFA executive committee.”
Oceania teams have been seen as rank outsiders in world football, especially since Australia joined the Asian confederation after the 2006 World Cup.
“Definitely, since Australia left Oceania, we have a problem at least at the level of club competition,” Blatter said.
Under the current format, Oceania is allocated only a play-off with a fifth Asian country for a berth in the Club World Cup as well as the World Cup of nations.