October 24, 2019 / 4:47 AM / 25 days ago

Soccer-China to host expanded Club World Cup in 2021

Oct 24 (Reuters) - China will host the Club World Cup in its new expanded format in 2021, soccer’s world governing body FIFA announced following a council meeting in Shanghai on Thursday.

FIFA announced it would revamp the tournament to feature 24 teams from 2021, with president Gianni Infantino saying in April that the plan would play a huge role in further developing the club game in Asia despite European opposition.

“It is a historic decision for football because the FIFA council decided today unanimously to appoint China as the hosts of the new FIFA World Cup for clubs,” Infantino told a news conference.

“The new (tournament) will be a competition which every person... anyone who loves football is looking forward to. It is the first real and true World Cup where the best clubs will compete. It will feature 24 teams and be held in June-July.”

The penultimate edition of the tournament in its current format featuring seven teams will kick off in Qatar on Dec. 11 with the final taking place 10 days later.

Qatar will host the final two editions in the old style as test events for the World Cup which the Gulf state will host in 2022. (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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