The world football governing body, FIFA, has announced that the annual Club World Cup will take place from 1 to 11 February 2020 in Qatar instead of December.
The tournament had to be postponed because most continental football associations were not able to conclude their Champions League campaigns for the 2019-2020 season on time due to the coronavirus pandemic which halted football activities in most parts of the world since March 2020.
Recall that UEFA had to complete its Champions League for the 2019-2020 season in a tournament format from the quarter-finals stage. All the clubs that were still involved in the tournament had to be camped in Lisbon, Portugal in August throughout the tournament.
After the one-headed series of matches, German Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich, and French Ligue 1 champions, Paris Saint Germain made it to the finals. At the end of the tournament, Bayern Munich emerged as the champions of the prestigious European football competition.
ℹ️ FC Bayern have the historic chance to win a sixth trophy in a matter of months at the FIFA Club World Cup in February 2021. The tournament will kick off in Qatar on February 1st. pic.twitter.com/5PvSXLqQg4— 🇺🇸 FC Bayern US 🇨🇦 (@FCBayernUS) November 17, 2020
As it stands, out of 7 expected clubs from 6 confederations, only UEFA has produced a representative which is Bayern Munich. While the 2019–2020 Qatar Stars League champions, Al-Duhail are qualified to take part in the competition as the host.
“The FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020, which was originally scheduled for December, has been subject to the disruptive effect of the pandemic on the confederations’ continental club championships that serve as a pathway for the event,” the world governing body said in a statement.
“The introduction of strict return-to-play protocols has facilitated a successful resumption of continental club championships, the last of which is now scheduled to conclude by the end of January 2021.
“As a result, the FIFA Club World Cup 2020 will now be held from February 1 to 11 2021, taking place in Qatar as per the original host appointment by the FIFA Council in June 2019.”
The postponed 2020 Club World Cup will be the final FIFA Club World Cup to feature seven teams before changing to a 24 team format in 2021 in China.
The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) will produce its representative in January 2021; the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will produce its representative on 19 December 2020, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will produce its representative on 27 November 2020.
The Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) will produce its representative on 22 December 2020; while the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) will produce its representative on a yet to be decided date.