Dates for Liverpool’s involvement in FIFA Club World Cup confirmed with Champions League winners going straight through to semi-finals

5 Sep

Liverpool now know when they will be playing at this year’s FIFA Club World Cup.

The Reds were invited after winning the Champions League last season when they beat Tottenham in the final in Madrid.

Liverpool are reigning European champions having defeated Tottenham in June’s Champions League final
Getty Images - Getty

The seven-team tournament is taking place in Qatar and will pit the winners of FIFA’s six continental confederations and the league champions of the host nation.

Liverpool are just one of three confirmed participants so far alongside 2019 Concacaf Champions League winners CF Monterrey and OFC Champions League holders Hienghene Sport.

The first round of the competition takes place on December 11 but Jurgen Klopp’s side will go straight into the semi-final stage.

The semi-finals will be played on December 17 and 18 with the final on December 21. There will also be a third-place play-off on the same date.

Liverpool last took part in the competition in 2005 after winning the Champions League in Istanbul.

During that tournament, they were beaten by Sao Paulo in the final.

Champions League winners have won the last six competitions with Real Madrid claiming the last three trophies.

The Reds were due to play West Ham on December 21 in the Premier League but this fixture has now been postponed and will be rescheduled.

Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp’s men facing Christmas fixture pile-up as FIFA announce Club World Cup dates

26 Jul

Liverpool are facing a potential fixture headache now the dates for this season’s Club World Cup have been confirmed by FIFA.

Jurgen Klopp’s side qualified for the competition by winning the Champions League last season, beating Tottenham in the final.

Liverpool are in the Club World Cup after winning the Champions League
AFP/Getty

The Reds were still waiting for an official invite to the tournament earlier this week despite the fact FIFA announced Qatar as hosts in early June.

But now it’s been confirmed Liverpool will be taking part in the competition, which takes place just before Christmas.

They enter the tournament at the semi-final stage, which is scheduled to happen on Wednesday December 18, while both the final and third-place play-off is pencilled in for Saturday December 21.

Liverpool's busy Christmas schedule

Fixtures Premier League unless stated

Liverpool vs Watford – Saturday December 14

Liverpool vs possible Carabao Cup quarter-final opponent – Tuesday December 17/Wednesday 18 (To be rearranged)

Liverpool vs Club World Cup semi-final opponent – Wednesday December 18

West Ham vs Liverpool – Saturday December 21 – (To be rearranged)

FIFA Club World Cup final/third place play-off – Saturday December 21

Leicester City vs Liverpool – Thursday December 26

This means at least one of Liverpool’s fixtures would need to be rearranged as they have a trip to West Ham in the Premier League currently scheduled for December 21.

Meanwhile, if the Reds reach the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, a new date would need to be found for that tie as the matches for that stage of the competition will take place on December 17/18.

There are eight teams competing in the Club World Cup, with Liverpool already confirmed alongside Vincent Janssen’s new club, Monterrey (Mexico), Hienghene Sport (New Caledonia) and Al-Sadd, who are managed by Barcelona legend Xavi, from Qatar.

Liverpool last took part in the tournament in December 2005 but lost 1-0 in the final to Sao Paolo in Japan.

Club World Cup 2019: Champions League winners Liverpool will headline tournament in Qatar

3 Jun

The Club World Cup will be held in Qatar in December.

Liverpool have the honour of playing in the tournament after beating Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday.

FIFA met in Paris on Monday where they also revealed the competition will be staged in Qatar for the next two years.

Jordan Henderson lifted the Champions League trophy after Liverpool beat Tottenham
AFP/Getty

Staging the seven-team tournament will be a chance for the country to test their new stadiums ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA will scrap the current Club World Cup format and relaunch it as a 24-team tournament in 2021 to be held every fourth summer in the slot currently held by the Confederations Cup.

There has been a delay in naming the host of the tournament as FIFA want to make sure Qatar have two finished stadiums.

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“Following the approval of a revamped FIFA Club World Cup with 24 teams, the pilot edition of which will be played in 2021, the FIFA Council decided to award Qatar the right to host the next two editions of the tournament in its existing format in 2019 and 2020.

The upcoming editions of the seven-team competition will serve as valuable test events in the build-up to the FIFA World Cup 2022, even more so since their timing – usually around early December – corresponds with that of the next FIFA World Cup, allowing for testing under similar climatic conditions,” a statement read.

The already renovated Khalifa International Stadium in Doha is being used for the World Athletics Championships in September and will not be ready for football in December.

Liverpool will be competing for the Club World Cup against the champions of world football’s other five confederations and the national champions of the host country.

The qualifiers so far are Mexico’s Monterey, Tunisia’s Esperance and Hienghene Sport and Oceania champions New Caledonia.

The Asian and South American champions will be decided in November.

Current Qatari champions are Al Sadd, who are managed by former Barcelona and Spain star Xavi.

Club World Cup 2019: Champions League winners Liverpool to discover location of tournament and could feature in new 24-team version

1 Jun

Liverpool may have won the Champions League, but there was confusion about whether they will take part in the FIFA Club World Cup this year.

The Reds beat Premier League rivals Tottenham 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid to get their hands on a sixth European Cup.

Liverpool lift the Champions League trophy after beating Tottenham in Madrid

Traditionally, the winner of the Champions League is automatically entered into the Club World Cup which takes place every December.

However, with the 2019 Club World Cup host nation not being decided until 3 June – two days after the Madrid final – there was uncertainty about the next edition.

This is due to FIFA’s new plans, which were rubber-stamped in March to host an expanded version of the competition every four years.

From 2021, the new format will see 24 teams compete – rather than eight in the previous model – which Liverpool are believed to have been invited to take part in.

However they, along with the fellow members of the European Club Association (ECA), have opposed the proposals laid out by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, and are thought to have declined to enter the competition.

The BBC reported that a letter penned to FIFA by the ECA read: “We are firmly against any potential approval of a revised CWC – no ECA clubs would take part.”

The Confederations Cup has been scrapped to may room for the revamped Club World Cup in June and July. Teams will be split into eight groups of three teams each, with the group winners to qualify for the quarter-finals in a knockout format.

“Now the world will see a real Club World Cup where fans will see the best teams in the world compete to be crowned the real world champions,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said when his proposals were green lit.

The Times report there would be 12 clubs from Europe and FIFA’s preferred option for the first tournament is to invite those clubs who have won at least three Champions Leagues or European Cups.

Club World Cup: Top European clubs refuse to take part in revamped tournament before 2024 despite Gianni Infantino’s plans

15 Mar

Europe’s top clubs have told Gianni Infantino they will not take part in a revamped Club World Cup in 2021, scuppering the FIFA president’s plans until at least 2024.

The stark message comes in a letter to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin from the European Club Association, which represents 232 of the continent’s leading teams, and was sent via email on Tuesday, three days before a crucial meeting of FIFA’s ruling council in Miami on Friday.

The letter is a blow to Infantino

The letter is believed to remind Ceferin that the ECA “is unwilling to consider any new or significantly revised competition prior to a holistic assessment” of the international match calendar, which has been agreed until 2024.

Ceferin, however, did not really need reminding of this as he and the ECA are in agreement in their anger at how Infantino has gone about this attempt to rewrite the calendar

But the letter will enable the Slovenian, who is also a FIFA vice-president, to tell FIFA there can be no new money-spinner without the game’s biggest stars.

Infantino has been trying to get approval for his new Club World Cup for a year and it had seemed he was inching closer to victory this week, as German federation boss and FIFA Council member Reinhard Grindel said he backed the idea – a possible sign that Europe’s opposition was splintering.

Ceferin is believed to agree with the ECA’s letter

The current seven-team competition is held every winter but is largely ignored in Europe, football’s largest market, and FIFA is desperate to breathe new life into it and earn more money to distribute throughout the game.

The FIFA plan has evolved since Infantino first mentioned it at a FIFA Council meeting in Colombia last year but the latest idea is for 24 teams – eight from Europe, six from South America, three each from Africa, Asia and North and Central America and one from Oceania – to play in a pilot tournament that could be worth £50million to each club.

But despite that sweetener, Europe’s elite are unmoved and the language of the letter, which has been signed by Manchester United vice-chairman Ed Woodward, Celtic’s Peter Lawwell and the bosses of Ajax, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris St Germain, is implacable.

Using phrases such as “much to our disappointment” and “utter disregard”, the ECA criticises FIFA for failing to consult properly, with the ‘Taskforce’ set up to resolve Europe’s concerns not letting the clubs discuss the international match calendar or examine Infantino’s financial plans.

On the issue of the calendar, the ECA stance could not be clearer, as it points out a pilot tournament in June 2021 would “result in the following uninterrupted sequence of competitions”: national and UEFA club competitions until the end of May, an international window including the UEFA Nations League finals, an 18-day Club World Cup from June 17-July 4, the Africa Cup of Nations and CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, and then the new domestic seasons.

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“In proposing this calendar…FIFA confirms that the protection and well-being of players and the vital interests of clubs are not a priority for football’s world governing body,” it said.

This places the clubs on the same side of the argument as world players’ union FIFPro, which made its opposition to the plan public on Wednesday.

The ECA is also annoyed that Infantino’s other big proposal from 12 months ago, a global Nations League, has not been killed off, despite no real enthusiasm for it from anywhere.

Real Madrid are the reigning Club World Cup champions

And it is scathing about FIFA’s refusal to reveal more details on who its backers are for the new tournaments, although it is widely believed to be investors from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in a group led by Japan’s technology fund SoftBank.

FIFA’s failure to “provide any meaningful information” on the proposal to sell 49 per cent of the new events – in a 12-year deal worth 25billion US dollars (£18.8billion) – is “perturbing” and inconsistent with its “stated objectives to modernise” and operate in an “open and transparent manner”.

The letter concludes by saying the ECA’s members are willing to talk about how a revamped Club World Cup might fit in the calendar after 2024, which they believe was settled in an agreement reached with FIFA in 2015.