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Japan reportedly ‘give up on hosting’ the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup

COVID-19 concerns

FC Bayern Muenchen v Tigres UANL - FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 Photo by David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Three months before it is set to begin, the 2021 edition of the FIFA Club World Cup may be suddenly host-less, if reports emerging from Japan prove to be true.

According to Kyodo News, the Japanese FA have “decided to relinquish” their hosting duties for FIFA’s cross-continental tournament, which was (and officially still is) scheduled to start on December 9. As UEFA Champions League winners, Chelsea are set to enter in the semifinal round only, about a week later, with the final to follow on December 19.

The report claims that the JFA remain in discussions with FIFA on what to do now, whether to postpone the tournament later in the season until pandemic conditions improve again (and they can let fans attend, avoiding a repeat of zero attendances like at the Olympics), or whether to move it to a different location, or perhaps scupper it altogether — though that last option is just wishful thinking on my part.

Last season’s tournament went ahead after a two-month delay in Qatar, who remain the obvious choice to host it again, for the third time running, if Japan completely drop out. At least that would present a shorter travel for Chelsea, though given the various COVID quarantine dramas playing out during this international break (including, most notably, in Brazil vs. Argentina), maybe we could do without this distraction for now — even if it is the one trophy missing from our trophy cabinet.

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