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China gets nod to host maiden 24-team Club World Cup

 

FIFA will officially announce China as hosts of its expanded 2021 Club World cup on Friday in Shanghai.

The tournament this time will feature 24 teams  of the world’s biggest clubs.

The decision to expand the championship had earlier been opposed by some European officials who appear to have now keyed into the idea.

The hosting right to China is expected to be rectified by FIFA’s governing council after its quarterly meeting.

The new quadrennial event, announced in March, will replace the unpopular Confederations Cup, an eight-team national tournament that in recent versions had acted as a tune-up for World Cup hosts.

It also will mean the demise of the Club World Cup as an annual event which was won by Real Madrid in Abu Dhabi last November.

Winners of 2018 edition of Club world cup Real Madrid

In choosing China as the first host of the expanded Club World Cup, Fifa will be rewarding a country that, since a 2015 government edict made football a national priority, has spent billions of dollars on coaching programmes, sponsorship agreements and investments in a big-spending domestic league that has lured top players with some of the biggest salaries in world football.

Hosting the new club championship also could be a boost for a Chinese bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

As it does for the World Cup, Europe will provide more competitors for the event than Fifa’s other five regional confederations.

Under Fifa’s plan, Europe would have eight places in the 24-team field. South America would have the next largest allotment, with six, and the remainder would qualify from the other regional confederations, including three from Concacaf, the representative body for North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

The new event is likely to produce a significant increase in revenue for Fifa, which has traditionally relied on the men’s World Cup for almost all of its income.

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