New stadium to anchor Qatar’s Club World Cup

Image: Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

Fifa has confirmed the host venues for the 2019 Club World Cup, stating Qatar’s plans for the tournament will give fans a taste of what to expect at the 2022 World Cup in the country.

Fifa awarded Qatar the rights to host the next two editions of the Club World Cup in 2019 and 2020 back in June. The gulf state will host the final two editions of the tournament in its current seven-team format before the event is expanded to 24 clubs as part of a commercial revamp in 2021.

Fifa today (Monday) said that Education City Stadium (pictured), a new 40,000-seat facility being built for the World Cup, will host the third-place play-off and final along with Uefa Champions League winner Liverpool’s opener in the competition as the English Premier League club takes on the winners of Match 2 in the semi-final tie scheduled for December 18.

With the tournament set to run from December 11-21, another Qatar 2022 venue, Khalifa International Stadium, will host a double-header on December 17. The fifth-place match will be contested there ahead of the semi‑final showdown between the Copa Libertadores champions, who will be entering the fray at this stage, and the winners of Match 3.

Also capable of welcoming up to 40,000 fans, Khalifa International was inaugurated in 1976 and reopened in 2017 after undergoing a revamp. It is currently staging the World Athletics Championships.

The opening encounter on December 11, as well as the double-header of matches two and three, will take place at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. That means that Al Sadd SC, which has qualified as the host representatives after winning the Qatar Stars League, will play at least one game at its home ground.

Currently due to face Hienghène Sport in the opener, the Qataris could yet advance straight to the second round to play ES Tunis by triumphing in the AFC Champions League, which would leave the Asian runners-up contesting the opening match instead. The 12,000-seat stadium will also welcome Concacaf Champions League victor, Liga MX team CF Monterrey, for the first fixture in its fourth Club World Cup campaign.

Fifa said in a statement: “With all three venues located a maximum of 12km from central Doha, the Fifa Club World Cup 2019 will provide a glimpse of Qatar’s compact nature ahead of the Fifa World Cup 2022, when the longest distance between any of the eight stadiums will be 70km.

“Taking place around the same time of the year and with matches kicking off from 17:00 (local time), this year’s tournament will also give teams and fans alike the chance to experience Qatar’s mild winter, with average temperatures ranging between 15 and 24°C.”