One of the Club World Cup's principal organisers has confessed he would rather have secured Fifa's sole club competition for five years, not two, as the UAE readies itself for tonight's opening match. Asked if he was disappointed that the UAE will only host the Club World Cup until next year - it returns to Japan for two years from 2011 - FA president Mohammed Khalfan al Rumaithi said: "Am I disappointed? No.
"Two years, initially, are enough to host this tournament. It is one of the biggest and it is good for the country, the region and for Abu Dhabi. "But, if you ask my personal opinion, I would liked this tournament for five years, like the Japanese [did before us]. "Not just because we are good enough, but because this part of the world needs a regular championship of this magnitude. "Europe has plenty of big tournaments, and I don't see it running in South America either.
"I see it in zones where football needs big tournaments. Then referees, organisers, spectators, everyone can learn more. "This is what we need and I think this is what Fifa had in mind when they named us as hosts. What we have done in terms of preparation will serve football in the UAE afterwards. "We have new training fields, stadiums and there are also plans to build a new stadium in the capital.
"It will have a positive impact on everything, the way we organise tournaments, our bidding files - the benefits will be tremendous." While the UAE has a strong track-record in hosting Fifa-sanctioned tournaments, al Rumaithi believes staging the Club World Cup will still provide a "turning point" for the country. "We have to prove ourselves and deliver a good tournament," he said. "We gained Fifa's trust with the Under 20 World Cup in 2003, and again with the Beach Soccer World Cup in Dubai recently.
"But this one is a turning point. If we do well, I think we will have the courage to ask for more. "It all depends on how well we deliver. "Everything looks fine, and everyone is happy, but when the tournament starts you never know what will happen." @Email: email@example.com