Qatar is set to host the next two editions of the Club World Cup.
The Fifa Council will be asked at a meeting on Monday to endorse Qatar for the seven-team club tournament this December and in December 2020, people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the choice of venue ahead of the council meeting.
The event, which will feature European champions Liverpool this year, will test Qatar’s preparedness to stage the 2022 World Cup, including being played at the same time of year.
Fifa moved the World Cup from the usual June-July slot for 2022 because of the Gulf nation’s summer heat. It will instead start on Nov. 21, with the final on Dec. 18, Qatar National Day. Qatar experiences highs of about 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) in December.
The decision to give Qatar the Club World Cup comes two weeks after Fifa settled on 32 countries for the 2022 World Cup rather than expanding to 48 teams.
The Club World Cup is also enlarging but not until 2021, when it becomes a 24-team competition held every four years.
The 2019 and 2020 Club World Cups will be the final versions with only the six continental club champions and the winner of the host’s domestic league. In Qatar, that will be Al-Sadd, which is coached by former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez.
Tunisian club Esperance de Tunis qualified last week as African champions, New Caledonian club Hienghene Sport will represent Oceania, and CONCACAF’s place was secured by Mexican club Monterrey. The Asian and South American teams will be determined in their continental finals in November.
The South American and European champions enter in the semi-finals at the Club World Cup.
Liverpool, who beat Tottenham 2-0 in the Champions League final on Saturday, lost its only Club World Cup final in 2005 to Sao Paulo in Yokohama, Japan.
The Club World Cup has been held in the Middle East before, but only in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has hosted four editions, including when Real Madrid won the title in December.
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