FIFA has confirmed it has postponed the expanded 2021 FIFA Club World Cup as football continues to shuffle its calendar because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The revamped tournament, extended from seven to 24 teams, was scheduled to be staged in China during June and July of next year. However, following Tuesday’s announcement that the European Championship and Copa America will be pushed back 12 months to that period, a new date for the Club World Cup must now be found.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino had said earlier this week that he would propose shifting the Club World Cup until later in 2021 or even at some point in 2022 or 2023.
Infantino held a conference call on Wednesday with the six continental ruling bodies to discuss how to move forward with the tournament as the game tries to mitigate the spread of the pandemic. A statement released by FIFA on Thursday said the new dates for the Club World Cup would be decided “at a later date”.
Infantino has long pushed for an expanded Club World Cup, despite significant opposition from UEFA and a number of Europe’s most prominent clubs. A three-week tournament had been proposed comprising, among others, eight representatives from Europe, six from South America, three from Africa and the two Asian Champions League finalists.
Meanwhile, football’s world governing body has also announced the creation of a working group to tackle the consequences of the pandemic, including dealing with the impact on players’ contracts and transfers. FIFA has pledged to donate $10 million (Dh36.7m) to the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.