Liverpool will travel to Qatar in December to try to add the Club World Cup to the Champions League title they won against Tottenham in Madrid on Saturday.
The ruling council of football’s world governing body FIFA is meeting in Paris on Monday and approval of the plan to stage the next two editions of the tournament in the Gulf state is understood to be a formality. The decision will be confirmed later today.
With Qatar staging the 2022 World Cup in November and December, the seven-team club tournament will be a great chance to test their new stadiums in 2019 and 2020.
After that, FIFA wants to scrap the Club World Cup’s current format and replace it with a 24-team tournament, held every fourth summer in the slot current held by the World Cup warm-up event, the Confederations Cup.
It had been reported in some quarters that FIFA was not going to bother with the Club World Cup before relaunching it in 2021, but that was never the case.
The hold-up in naming a host was caused by having to wait to make sure Qatar would have two finished stadiums for this year’s tournament, as the already renovated Khalifa International Stadium in Doha is being used for the World Athletics Championships in September and will not be ready for football in December.
As per the recent editions of the Club World Cup, Liverpool will be competing for the title against the champions of world football’s other five confederations and the national champions from the host country.
So far, the other qualifiers are Mexico’s Monterey, Tunisia’s Esperance and Hienghene Sport, the Oceania champions from New Caledonia. The Asian and South American champions will be decided in November. The current Qatari champions are Al Sadd, whose manager is former Barcelona and Spain star Xavi.
As European champions, Liverpool would enter at the semi-final stage. The Reds lost 1-0 to South American champions Sao Paulo in Yokohama in the 2005 final, their only previous appearance in the competition in its current guise.
Confirmation that this year’s Club World Cup is on means Liverpool will get the chance to add three more pieces of silverware before the year is out.
They face Premier League winners Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley in early August and Europa League winners Chelsea in the European Super Cup in Istanbul on August 14.
Real Madrid won last year’s Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, beating the host nation’s Al Ain in the final. The competition took place from December 12-22.
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