The FIFA Club World Cup will be held in Qatar from February 1-11 next year, football’s world governing body announced on Tuesday. The 7-team tournament was originally scheduled to be held in December 2020 in Doha but coronavirus-led delays have caused the organisers to postpone it to 2021.
“The FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020, which was originally scheduled for December, has been subject to the disruptive effect of the pandemic on the confederations’ continental club championships that serve as a pathway for the event.
“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.
“As a result, the FIFA Club World Cup 2020 will now be held from 1 to 11 February 2021, taking place in Qatar as per the original host appointment by the FIFA Council in June 2019.
“In line with FIFA’s International Match Protocol, FIFA and the host country will provide the required safeguards for the health and safety of all involved,” FIFA said in a statement.
Only two of the seven tournament places — European champion Bayern Munich and Qatari champion Al-Duhail — have currently been decided. The 2020 Club World Cup was intended to be the last edition with only seven teams.
FIFA’s plans to launch a 24-team version in China in June 2021 were put on hold by the pandemic. That month is now taken for the European Championship and Copa America tournaments, which were postponed by one year.
FIFA could try for a June 2022 launch but all competition calendars will be congested ahead of the next World Cup in November of that year in Qatar.