October 1 – FIFA has revealed the Education City Stadium as the venue for the final of this year’s Club World Cup in Qatar. The stadium will also host matches during the 2022 World Cup.
The new Education City Stadium in Doha will host Liverpool’s semi-final on 18 December, the same date as the final of the 2022 World Cup. The 40,000-seater stadium will also host the tournament’s third place play-off and final on December 21.
The Khalifa International, another World Cup venue, and the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium will be the other two venues for the competition, which will be the second time Qatar stage a major FIFA tournament after the Gulf nation stepped in to host the U-20 World Cup in 1995.
Since 2005, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco have hosted the competition, but the next two iterations of the tournament have been scheduled in Qatar. In 2021, world federation FIFA wants to reformat the Club World Cup into a 24-team tournament with China as potential hosts.
The Khalifa International stadium will stage the second semi-final when the South American champions, winners of the Copa Libertadores, enter the fray.
The stadium is currently hosting the Athletics World Championships, and the Qataris will be hoping that they can get more spectators into it for football than they have for the athletics which has so far not been more than half full and has been heavily criticised for lack of atmosphere and being more notable for its light display than its fan enthusiasm. The Qatari organisers have blamed TV scheduling and the economic blockade of their country by neighbours Saudi Arabia as the reason for poor crowds. Similar issues will exist for the Club World Cup, though that is a tournament that is no stranger to playing in half empty stadia and unlike the athletics, does not have a particularly high performance bar to clear.
European champions Liverpool will be the red-hot favorites to win the tournament. The English will face Mexico’s Monterey, New Caledonia’s Hienghène Sport or Qatar’s Al Sadd in their semi-final.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1618093489labto1618093489ofdlr1618093489owedi1618093489sni@o1618093489fni1618093489