September 10 – Japan has officially withdrawn as hosts of the Club World Cup scheduled to be played in December, because of the spread of the coronavirus within the country, global governing body FIFA confirmed on Thursday.
Yesterday the Japanese authorities extended the state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions of the country. That state of emergency had not prevented the Japanese from hosting both the Olympic and Paralympic Games behind closes doors, despite a fifth wave driven by the Delta variant.
The hosting of Club World Cup was intended to be a major event that co-incided with the celebrations of the Japan Football Association’s (JFA) centenary celebrations.
“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 2021,” read a FIFA statement “Further details about an alternative host for the FIFA Club World Cup 2021 will be announced by FIFA in due course.”
Earlier this week, Kyodo News reported that the JFA had decided to give up the hosting rights to the club tournament. Japan last staged the tournament in 2016 when Real Madrid ran out winners. FIFA will be left scrambling to find new hosts with Qatar not an option as the 2022 World Cup hosts are staging the Arab Cup, a dress rehearsal for the global finals, in December.
FIFA may be forced to postpone the tournament into next year.
Last February, Bayern Munich defeated Mexico’s Tigres UANL in Doha to win the 2020 world crown at a tournament that was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Chelsea will represent Europe this time, with Auckland City for OFC and Egypt’s Al Ahly representing CAF, featuring as well. The other participants are still to be determined.
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