(Reuters) – The penultimate edition of the Club World Cup in its current format featuring seven teams will kick off in Qatar on Dec. 11 with the final taking place 10 days later, global soccer governing body FIFA announced on Friday.
FIFA had said it would revamp the tournament to feature 24 teams from 2021, with Qatar hosting the final two editions in the old style as test events for the World Cup which the Gulf state will host in 2022.
Three teams for this year have been confirmed with European champions Liverpool joining CONCACAF champions CF Monterrey and Oceania’s Hienghene Sport. The club representing hosts Qatar will depend on the ongoing AFC Champions League.
“If a team from Qatar are champions, they qualify directly for the second round … with the runners-up playing the opening match against Hienghene Sport on Dec. 11,” FIFA said in a statement (https://www.fifa.com/news/fifa-club-world-cup-qatar-2019-to-be-played-from-11-to-21-december).
“If the AFC Champions League winners are not a club from Qatar, the current holders of the Qatar Stars League title, Al Sadd SC, play the opening match against Hienghene Sport.”
Participating teams from Africa, Asia and South America will be determined in the coming months.
The draw for second round and semi-final matches will take place at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich on Sept. 16.
Liverpool enter the competition in the semi-final stage and take on a second-round winner on Dec. 18.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)