The 2021 FIFA Club World Cup will be delayed until “early 2022” and moved to the United Arab Emirates, the world soccer governing body said Wednesday, after Japan scrapped previous plans to host the tournament in December due to the coronavirus pandemic.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced the decision after a Governing Council meeting. It had already been decided to delay the introduction of a new format by expanding the competition to 24 teams as planned before the pandemic.

In addition, the Council also said that the 72nd FIFA Congress will be held on March 31 in Doha in conjunction with the draw for the final phase of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. And FIFA said Infantino had communicated to the Council “his intention to be closer to the FIFA World Cup and therefore to divide his presence between Zurich, Doha and the rest of the world, in order to fulfill his presidential duties.”

The 2021 Club World Cup has four qualifiers at the moment. Chelsea -European champion, Auckland -Oceania-, Al-Ahly -Africa- and Al-Jazira as the organizing country of the tournament. There are three other confederations to define their classifieds: North, Central America and the Caribbean, South America and Asia.


For his part, Infantino also said on Wednesday that the future of a World Cup every two years could be decided on December 20, when the governing body of world soccer holds a summit to discuss controversial plans to hold the most important tournament in the world of soccer. .

Infantino hinted that a change may not be imposed. The FIFA president assured that the purpose of the summit was “to present an agreed proposal” for a new international calendar for men and women. But he personally distanced himself from the plans and recognized the strength of the sentiment of those who opposed the change.

“It is not my proposal or my decision,” Infantino said in statements collected by the PA news agency. “I have to facilitate dialogue, I have to bring people together. It’s a bit like (being) a referee when there is a riot. My job is to be a moderating force,” he said.

“We have different sides, some are absolutely in favor of this reform, others are absolutely against it, but the important thing is that everyone has the right to have an opinion and express it,” he said.

“I am convinced that if we are all willing to work for the good of football, we will also be willing to commit ourselves to a certain extent. That means that we all have to move in the direction of solidarity with world football,” he concluded.