FIFA is studying postponing the Club World Cup for the beginning of next year due to problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, sources close to the planning indicated.

The restrictions imposed by COVID-19 forced Japan to desist from hosting the seven-team tournament in December and South Africa withdrew its application due to the need to vaccinate a greater number of its population against the coronavirus.

FIFA is now exploring holding the event in January or February, the sources told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss ongoing negotiations.

Qatar is a possibility – as in February, when Bayern Munich won the 2020 postponed edition in Doha – to help test the venues for the World Cup that begins in November 2022.

FIFA has scheduled the Arab Cup in December in Qatar in advance as part of the World Cup preparations. The Club World Cup could attract fans from more countries with the presence of Chelsea, who got a ticket by winning the European Champions League. The plan would affect a Premier League weekend for the west London club, as would have been the case had the tournament gone according to plan, in December.

A Club World Cup expanded to 24 teams was due to debut this year in China, but that plan was abandoned as the pandemic forced national team matches to be rescheduled in June and FIFA was unable to raise the necessary funds for the four-year event. So the seven-team format was extended for another year, with the champions of the six continental cups being joined by the league champion from the host country.

 

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