Japanese anxious over World Cup rehearsal


TOKYO Organizers of the 2002 football World Cup in Japan expressed fears Friday that next month’s Confederation Cup would not pass as a perfect rehearsal for next year’s tournament. Yasuhiko Endo, secretary general of JAWOC, the organisers of the competiton to be co-hosted with South Korea next year, said he had wanted the Confederation Cup to act as a “trial run” but problems with the Internet ticket sites had hampered preparations. “Sponsors are not complete yet for the Internet,” he said. “I’m worrying about it very much. Two are still vacant.”

Technicians working on the sites had also experienced problems trying to work in different languages. “We’ll just do our best whatever the situation will be,” added Endo. Japan and South Korea are to co-host the Confederations Cup from May 30 to June 10. World and European champions France will be the star attractions of the tournament along with Brazil. They will be joined by the respective champions of FIFA’s regional confederations — Canada, Cameroon, Australia, Mexico — and the two host nations. The final is scheduled to be held in Yokohama, Japan, on June 10 where one of the two semi-final matches will also be staged three days earlier. The second semi-final is to be held in South Korea. The six preliminary matches in Japan will be staged in the port city of Niigata, and Ibaraki, home to the J-League club Kashima Antlers.