Saudi Arabia host of 2023 FIFA spectacle


Next Club World Cup to be hosted in Saudi Arabia Image: Saudi Arabian Football Federation

Saudi Arabia will host its first major FIFA event this year, after being selected to put on the 2023 Club World Cup in December.

‘EUROSPORT’ stated that the Middle East State – who is preparing a bid to co-host the 2030 World Cup alongside Egypt and Greece – was unanimously selected by the FIFA Council.

The FIFA Club World Cup™ is an international men’s association football competition organized by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport’s global governing body. The competition was first contested in 2000 as the FIFA Club World Championship.

The 2023 FIFA Club World Cup™ will be the 20th edition of the FIFA Club World Cup™, a FIFA-organized international club football tournament between the winners of the six continental confederations, as well as the host nation’s league champions. The tournament will be played in Saudi Arabia from December 12th-22nd, 2023.

‘EUROSPORT’ quoted the Saudi Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal as stating, “We are honored and extremely excited to be given the opportunity to welcome the world’s leading football clubs and their fans to Saudi Arabia.”

Referencing to the nation’s performance at last year’s World Cup in Qatar, which included a 2-1 group stage win over Argentina, Al Faisal added, “Many fans will have recently witnessed our ability as a nation to compete at the highest possible level on the pitch. Now we have the chance to prove we are also world-class hosts off it. We look forward to showcasing our genuine love of the game and our desire to be a force for good. Today (February 15th) is another important step forward on our journey of transformation in football and as a country and I trust all involved will see for themselves the undeniable progress being made at many different levels. We host international sports for the simple reason that we truly believe in the power of sport to inspire our boys and girls, to create new connections and build new relationships. This will mean so much to our people where 70 percent are under the age of 35 and are absolutely obsessed with football.”

The seven-team event will run from December 12th.

As with previous editions, the Champions League winners and the South American champions will only enter at the semi-final stage.

It has also been confirmed that the new-look 32-team tournament – as proposed by the FIFA President Gianni Infantino on the eve of last year’s World Cup final – will start in the Summer of 2025.

Twelve teams from Europe will be invited to play in the refreshed version of the competition.

This comes after years of criticism over the format of the Club World Cup.

After a less than successful inaugural event in 2000, the competition’s relaunch in 2005 saw different continent’s champions arrive at different stages – widely thought to give as little inconvenience to European sides as possible during a busy schedule.

This has not made for a particularly competitive spectacle, with European teams taking the trophy every year for the last decade.

The LaLiga club Real Madrid CF (Spain) have won the competition on the most occasions, and picked up their fifth title with a 5-3 win over the Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal in February.

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