FIFA sets new Club World Cup dates for February in Qatar

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Bayern's scorer Robert Lewandowski, center, is touched in the face by Bayern's scorer David Alaba after their second goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Bayern's scorer Robert Lewandowski, center, is touched in the face by Bayern's scorer David Alaba after their second goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)

ZURICH (AP) — The pandemic-delayed Club World Cup will be played next year in Qatar from Feb. 1-11, FIFA said Tuesday.

Only two of the seven tournament places — European champion Bayern Munich and Qatari champion Al-Duhail — have currently been decided. The 2020 Club World Cup lineup should be completed after the Copa Libertadores final in late January.

The FIFA-run club tournament was originally scheduled for mid-December in Qatar, but the CONCACAF Champions League final will not be played until Dec. 22 in Orlando, Florida, and the Asian Champions League final is scheduled for Dec. 19 in Doha.

Qatar has proven its ability to host games safely, with the Asian Champions League being played in the country in a biosphere bubble since it resumed in the group stage in September.

The 2020 Club World Cup was intended to be the last edition with only seven teams.

FIFA's plans to launch a 24-team version in China in June 2021 were put on hold by the pandemic. That month is now taken for the European Championship and Copa America tournaments, which were postponed by one year.

FIFA could try for a June 2022 launch but all competition calendars will be congested ahead of the next World Cup in November of that year in Qatar.

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