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UEFA will not compete in the Confederations Cup after 2005, European football’s ruling body has confirmed.

President Lennart Johansson said UEFA will compete in the next two championships but will withdraw following the tournament in Germany in 2005.

“We will not participate but it would be wrong to step out now,” Johansson said . “This competition will not be here to stay.”

Europe has long opposed the Confederations Cup, believing that it imposes further congestion on an already-overcrowded fixture list.

Held every two years and featuring the champions of each of the six continental confederations that make up world governing body FIFA, plus the World Cup winners and the host nation, the tournament was staged last year in South Korea and Japan and was used as a dry-run for this year’s World Cup finals.

No venue has yet been set for 2003 but the 2005 tournament will be held in Germany.

Johansson also said UEFA is considering withdrawing from the World Club Championship.

“We are not enthusiastic but we will leave it to our clubs as to whether they take part,” he added.

FIFA posponed last year’s competition due to the collapse of the ISL-ISMM marketing group but vowed to reintroduce it in 2005.

UEFA’s decision to withdraw from the Confederations Cup can be seen in the wider context of the ongoing dispute between FIFA and UEFA. Disagreements between the two bodies and in particular between Johansson and FIFA president Sepp Blatter have rumbled on for years, culminating in UEFA’s support for Issa Hayatou when the head of the African federation contested the FIFA presidency with Blatter.

Blatter won that battle but UEFA seem determined to make him pay a heavy price for his success.

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