Football: UAE to host next Club World Cup in early 2022

Bayern Munich players celebrate with the Club World Cup trophy in Qatar in February 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - The United Arab Emirates will host the next Club World Cup early in 2022, Fifa president Gianni Infantino announced on Wednesday (Oct 20).

The latest edition of the tournament - which features the champions of the six continental confederations along with the top team in the host nation - was due to be played at the end of this year in Japan before it pulled out as host because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Club World Cup is usually played in December but this is the second successive year in which it has been delayed - the 2020 edition in Qatar was played in February this year.

"The Club World Cup will be played in early 2022. There are no precise dates yet, but the host will be the United Arab Emirates," Infantino said at a press conference following a Fifa Council meeting.

A February start date seems most likely given the Africa Cup of Nations will be staged in Cameroon from Jan 9 to Feb 6.

Chelsea will be Europe's representative after winning last season's Uefa Champions League, while Al Ahly of Egypt are also confirmed participants.

South America will be represented by either Palmeiras or Flamengo, with the Brazilian duo meeting in next month's Copa Libertadores final.

Bayern Munich won the most recent edition of the Club World Cup, which has been held in the UAE on four previous occasions, most recently in 2018 when Real Madrid were the winners.

A lucrative, revamped 24-team Club World Cup, including eight sides from Europe, was due to be played in China this year before the pandemic put that project on hold.

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