Delayed Club World Cup kicks off in Qatar


The delayed 2020 FIFA Club World Cup started rolling in Qatar on Thursday as the country ramps up its preparation for the 2022 World Cup and also plays its “part for the safe return of football” amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament, comprising five regional football champions and host country league winners, was scheduled to be hosted in December but was pushed back almost two months due to COVID-19.
African champions Al-Ahly of Egypt, Central American heavyweight Mexico’s Tigres UANL, Asia giant Ulsan Hyundai FC from South Korea , European crown holder Bayern Munich of Germany, CONMEBOL Libertadores winners Palmeiras and the host nation Qatar’s Al Duhail are the five teams to dance around in one of the state of the art stadiums in Qatar also the host nation for 2022 World Cup final.
Last month, Auckland City withdrew from the event due to quarantine measures required by New Zealand’s authorities giving Al Duhail a bye into the second round.
To be allowed inside the stadiums, fans will require a negative COVID-19 test taken in the 72 hours prior to the match, proof of contracting the virus after October 1, 2020 or proof of vaccination.
According to the organizers, “players and officials will be part of a strict medical bubble system” that would include “regular COVID-19 testing, safe transportation methods and regular disinfection of tournament venues, including training and media facilities”.
“This event is important for us in preparation for the World Cup 2022. However, we’re holding this edition in completely different circumstances [compared to the 2019 edition also hosted by Qatar],” said Qatar 2022 chief executive Nasser Al Khater.
“We’re hosting it during a global pandemic which is obviously very difficult but it’s also important for us to make sure we play our part for the safe return of football.”