Champions League winners Chelsea will participate in the 2021 Fifa Club World Cup, which will be held in Abu Dhabi. AFP
Tournament, which was set to take place in Japan, will be held in UAE capital at the beginning of next year
Abu Dhabi has been confirmed as host of the 2021 Fifa Club World Cup.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino announced the news at the world governing body’s council meeting on Wednesday. The 2021 tournament was originally set to take place in Japan in December, but the Japan Football Association withdrew last month citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
No new date for the Abu Dhabi competition has been confirmed, although The National understands that a slot in February is under consideration.
The UAE has previously staged the Club World Cup four times, with Abu Dhabi hosting in 2009, 2010, 2017 and 2018. The 2021 tournament will feature Chelsea and five other continental club champions, as well as Al Jazira, the current UAE champions.
On Wednesday, Infantino said: “The council endorsed a meeting, a global summit meeting to take place in December this year with the aim of providing a presentation to all 211 member nations about the future of football, men’s football, women’s football, youth football, on 20 December.
“It was decided that the Club World Cup 2021 will be played in early 2022 — the exact dates are still to be confirmed — but after the withdrawal of Japan because of the pandemic, the host will be the United Arab Emirates, the UAE, who have hosted this event already a few times as you know.”
Chelsea qualify for the Club World Cup as reigning European champions, alongside African counterparts Al Ahly of Egypt, and Oceanic champions Auckland City of New Zealand. Jazira, who captured last season’s Arabian Gulf League — the domestic competition has since been renamed the Adnoc Pro League — will contest the event for the second time.