The next two Club World Cups, in December this year and in 2020, will be played in Qatar as preparation for the 2022 World Cup, global football governing body FIFA has said.
The seven-team club tournament, which will include European champion Liverpool this year, will be played in December and in December 2020, FIFA confirmed on Monday.
“It is an amazing test competition for us. We will try to use the Club World Cup as a test in as many ways as possible,” Hassan al-Thawadi, chief of the local Qatari organising committee for 2022 said.
That includes coping with an influx of potentially thousands of fans who will want to drink alcohol, which is currently only available for foreigners in a limited number of bars in Qatar.
“Alcohol will be available in certain areas,” al-Thawadi said. “The details of it operationally, how it’s going to work out, all that stuff will be put in place and we will be announcing it in due course.
“We will have fan zones available so it will be a great opportunity for us to put in place some of the plans we have for the World Cup already to get lessons learnt from it.”
The decision to give Qatar the Club World Cup comes two weeks after FIFA settled on 32 countries for the 2022 World Cup rather than expanding to 48 teams.
The Club World Cup has recently been held in Japan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with seven competing teams – six continental champions and a team from the host nation.
After Qatar hosts the final two editions of the tournament in its present format, FIFA will revamp it to include 24 teams, a move that has been opposed by the European Club Association (ECA) which has issued a boycott threat.
Tunisian club Esperance de Tunis qualified last week as African champion, New Caledonian club Hienghene Sport will represent Oceania, and CONCACAF’s place was secured by Mexican club Monterrey. The Asian and South American teams will be determined in their continental finals in November.
The South American and European champions enter in the semifinals at the Club World Cup.
Liverpool, which beat Tottenham 2-0 in the Champions League final on Saturday, lost its only Club World Cup final in 2005 to Sao Paulo in Yokohama, Japan.
“It’s a great opportunity, the time of the year that we have it, to test out their facilities,” said Canadian FIFA vice-president Victor Montagliani. “I think it will be good for Qatar to have the two events over the next years.”