Qatar to host the FIFA Club World Cup in 2019 and 2020
DOHA: The FIFA Council has granted Qatar the right to host the next two editions of the FIFA Club World Cup scheduled for 2019 and 2020.
From the current seven-team tournaments, the competition will be expanded to 24 teams from 2021, global soccer body FIFA said on Monday.
FIFA confirmed that Qatar would stage the event in 2019 and 2020 when it would also serve as a test for the World Cup which the Gulf state will host in 2022.
“For us, it is a great opportunity, it is a great test event to try out some of the operational plans we have in place in the lead up to the World Cup,” Hassan al-Thawadi, general secretary of Qatar’s World Cup organising committee, told reporters after a FIFA Council meeting.
The competition currently features the club champions of the six continental federations plus a team from the host nation. It was first staged in its current form in 2005.
From 2021 onwards, FIFA will hold the competition on a four-yearly basis with 24 teams and wants to include at least eight from Europe.
This has been opposed by the European Club Association (ECA) which said its members would not take part because there is no space in the international calendar.
The ECA has 232 members, including all of Europe’s biggest clubs.
FIFA said it would approach potential hosts for the expanded edition of the club tournament before making a recommendation at the next council meeting in Shanghai on October 23 and 24.
FIFA also said it had lifted the suspension on Sierra Leone after Isha Johansen, the president of the country’s football association, was acquitted of corruption charges by the country’s high court along with general secretary Chris Kamara. Both had denied wrongdoing.
FIFA considered the case to be third-party interference in the running of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA), something which is banned under its statutes.
The UAE hosted the tournament in 2009, 2010, 2017, 2018 and Morocco in 2013 and 2014, while Japan hosted the tournament between 2005 and 2008 and in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
Real Madrid secured the last three titles as UEFA Champions League winner and Real Madrid was crowned with the last edition at the expense of Al Ain 4-1.