UAE in talks to host 2021 Fifa Club World Cup

Fifa consider options for delayed event after Japan withdrew citing concerns regarding Covid-19

Uefa Champions League winners Chelsea will participate in the 2021 Fifa Club World Cup, which could be heading to the UAE. Reuters
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The Football Association has held discussions regarding hosting the 2021 Fifa Club World Cup in the UAE after Japan withdrew earlier this month.

Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, the FA president, confirmed on Wednesday night that talks about staging the event had taken place between the governing body, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Fifa, although he added that no final decision has been made.

The Club World Cup, which features the six continental club champions and the host nation’s league winners, has been held in the UAE four times before, running successive years in 2009 and 2010, and then again in 2017 and 2018.

Japan withdrew as hosts of the December tournament citing concerns over the coronavirus. Earlier on Wednesday, the South African Football Association claimed it had held "encouraging" talks with Fifa regarding staging the Club World Cup, although world football's governing body has yet to announce if it has received any official bids.

The National understands a revised date early next year for the 2021 edition is being considered.

On September 9, Fifa said in a statement: “Fifa can confirm that it has been informed today by the Japan Football Association (JFA) that, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and hosting situation in the country, they are no longer in a position to host the Fifa Club World Cup.

“Fifa would like to thank the JFA for their work and commitment and looks forward to going back to Japan in the future. Further details about an alternative host for the Fifa Club World Cup 2021 will be announced by Fifa in due course.”

As European champions, Premier League side Chelsea are scheduled to take part in the tournament, alongside African counterparts Al Ahly of Egypt, and Oceanic champions Auckland City of New Zealand. The two most recent editions of the Club World Cup were held in Qatar.

Meanwhile, the FA announced on Wednesday the introduction of foreign referees from next month in the Adnoc Pro League and the President’s Cup this season.

Updated: September 23, 2021, 5:36 PM