Soccer

Qatar to host next two Club World Cups in preparation for 2022 World Cup

AP

Qatar will host the next two editions of the Club World Cup in a major test of the Gulf nation’s preparedness to stage the World Cup in 2022.

The seven-team club tournament, which will include European champion Liverpool this year, will be played in December and in December 2020, FIFA decided Monday at a council meeting.

“It is a great test event,” Qatar World Cup organizing committee chairman Hassan Al-Thawadi said. “So we will definitely try to utilize as much as possible, all the different facets of hosting a World Cup.”

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 after the FIFA Council meeting in Paris. “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 second of the World Cup stadiums opened last month with FIFA President Gianni Infantino attending a domestic cup final at the 40,000-seat Al Janoub venue.

The event for clubs will be played at the same time of year as the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA moved the World Cup from the usual June-July slot for 2022 because of the Gulf nation’s summer heat.