FIFA set to postpone Club World Cup after Japan stepped down as host country
Chelsea are due to take part in the tournament
FIFA are reportedly set to postpone the Club World Cup until 2022 with a decision yet to made on when it will be held after Japan withdrew as hosts.
Reigning Champions League winners Chelsea were due to play in the tournament that was originally scheduled to be played from December 9 to 19.
However, following Japan's decision to withdraw as hosts over safety concerns because of the current state of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, the Mirror report that FIFA are now set to postpone it.
A statement earlier this month from the Japanese FA read: "The FIFA Club World Cup will not be held in Japan in December 2021 as a result of discussions between FIFA and the Japan Football Association (JFA) regarding the status of coronavirus infections and the current conditions for holding it.
"The FIFA Club World Cup was positioned as part of the JFA 100th Anniversary Commemorative Project, but at this point it is difficult to predict the status of the coronavirus infections at the end of the year.
"There are various restrictions such as restrictions on the number of spectators. We have come to the conclusion that it is very difficult to hold the event in the midst of it."
With an alternative host yet to be found, a final decision will be made at FIFA's next Council meeting on October 20.
It is thought that the most likely outcome will see the mini tournament moved to early 2022, but the specific dates are yet to be confirmed.
South Africa, Brazil and Qatar have all shown an interest in hosting the Club World Cup following Japan's withdrawal, but it is believed that Brazil have since pulled away.
Last week, president of the South African FA, Danny Jordaan, discussed the difficulties facing them in their bid to become to an alternative host for the tournament.
"The meeting has been postponed to Monday. I think the issues are clear; it's Covid because we are red-listed by the UK government, which means no one can really travel from there to South Africa," he told Soccer Laduma.
"Another issue is the low vaccinations rate and the fact that we still don't have spectators in the stadium - FIFA have said "go and solve this problem and then come talk to us", so that is a big issue in our way.
"They are not sporting issues; there's nothing we can do (government makes the decision). The tournament is in December, and that is why we have to meet with the government to understand the timelines.
"What is encouraging is that they've said we are at the end of the third wave. Football in Africa, under Covid conditions, is quite different to Europe - they are almost back to normal."
After Liverpool won the trophy in Qatar in 2019, Chelsea will undoubtedly been keen to compete in the prestigious tournament - even if it is pushed back to next year.
- Would you welcome a despotic regime to your club if it meant Champions League football?
- New Newcastle United owners release first statement since takeover of club
- Marcus Rashford to become youngest ever recipient of honorary degree from University of Manchester