Doha (AFP) – Qatar will host the coronavirus-delayed Club World Cup, an important test event ahead of the 2022 World Cup, in February, FIFA said on Tuesday.
The virus has thrown the sporting calendar into chaos with organisers forced to postpone flagship events like the Olympics and Euro 2020, while other events have been cancelled outright.
The Club World Cup, which had been due to be played in Doha in December of this year, will instead be held from February 1 to 11, 2021.
The competition sees club champions from the six regional confederations and the champions of the host nation, Qatar’s Al-Duhail, brought together for the annual contest.
Bayern Munich are due to take part after winning last season’s UEFA Champions League.
“The FIFA Club World Cup 2020 will now be held from 1 to 11 February 2021, taking place in Qatar,” FIFA said in a statement.
“FIFA and the host country will provide the required safeguards for the health and safety of all involved.”
Liverpool lifted the trophy in 2019 after beating Brazil’s Flamengo in the final.
A revamped 24-team Club World Cup, including eight sides from Europe, was due to be played in China in 2021, but is set to be rescheduled for a later date after Euro 2020 and the Copa America were pencilled in for next June and July.
Qatar was named as the hosts of the 2019 and 2020 tournaments, which are seen as important tests of the Gulf nation’s readiness for 2022.
The pandemic, which began in China late last year, has quickly marched across the globe, infecting more than 55 million people and killing at least 1,328,048 people according to official sources.
“The introduction of strict return-to-play protocols has facilitated a successful resumption of continental club championships the last of which is now scheduled to conclude by the end of January 2021,” which will determine the line-up of the February tournament, the FIFA statement added.
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