08/10/2021; 1:11 PM By : Steven D. Thompson
FIFA faces a barrage of problems and is fighting hard to ensure that its competitions don’t lose relevance. The rising profile of club football in Europe is beginning to make FIFA competitions feel like added stress instead of the football competitions that every player aspires to play in.
Currently, the UEFA Champions League is viewed in many quarters as more competitive, more exciting and more prestigious than the FIFA World Cup. The arrival of the international breaks looks more an irritant rather than a competition of value.
The groans and complaints have been loud, and thea of running the FIFA World Cup every two years has been met with resistance in many quarters. It is on the backdrop of this that FIFA has a new challenge before it.
The 2020/21 UEFA Champions League produced unlikely winners in Chelsea. The team was waiting to partake in the 2022 edition of the FIFA Club World Cup when the news hit. Japan has pulled out of hosting the competition due to the rising Covid-19 infections in the country.
The country has been battling to stem the rising wave, and a report by the Mirror suggests that FIFA look set to postpone the competition.
It is a hard blow to swallow by FIFA already enmeshed in establishing its competitions as the premier tournaments. The winter tournament, contested annually, was won in 2019 by Liverpool. Chelsea were the next English team to attempt winning it, with some of its Premier League matches expected to be affected. It may now not be necessary, except a new host is found. Bookmakers already had Chelsea as favourites to be seen, but it remains to be seen if the competition will even hold in the first place.
Chelsea set for Club World Cup frustration as FIFA prepare to postpone tournament. FIFA are set to postpone the Club World Cup until next year. Chelsea were due to play in the prestigious mini tournament from December 9 to 19 as the reigning Champions League winners.— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) October 7, 2021
FIFA is yet to make a final decision on the postponement, but it is expected to come at the next council meeting on October 20.
With Japan pulling out of hosting, Brazil and Qatar have indicated an interest in taking Japan’s place. The competition usually holds in December but is in jeopardy, with FIFA either finding a new host or shifting the date to 2022. The latter choice is looking at the likelier option.
The competition would have been hosted for the first time by Japan for its centennial celebrations. The rising cases of Covid-19 infections have put paid to that.
The Japanese FA earlier in the month released a statement that suggested that the competition would no longer be held in Japan after discussions with FIFA.
South Africa would have been an option, but last week, South African FA president Danny Jordaan highlighted the challenges they face in their bid to be an alternative host.
Speaking with Soccer Laduma, he said the meeting was postponed to Monday, but the issues are clear. South Africa is red-listed by the UK government, which means travel from the UK to South Africa is prohibited.