(GulfToday) – 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 country 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.
“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.
Meanwhile, FIFA has called on the game’s authorities around the world to implement a “zero-tolerance” policy against racism.
In a letter seen by AFP, FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura pressed for everyone associated with the game to adopt the organisation’s three-point procedure.
“FIFA now urges all member associations, leagues, clubs and disciplinary bodies to introduce the three-step procedure in their domestic competitions, to pursue a zero-tolerance policy towards racist and discriminatory incidents in football, and to severely punish such behaviour,” Samoura wrote in the letter.
The first step of the procedure, which FIFA introduced into its competitions at the 2017 Confederations Cup, involves the referee stopping a match to request a public announcement to call for any racist behaviour to cease.
That will be followed by the referee suspending the match until it stops, and finally, abandoning the match altogether.
FIFA said earlier in July that it wanted teams to forfeit matches if their supporters were deemed to be guilty of racist behaviour.
A report released by campaign group Kick It Out on Wednesday said reported incidents of racist abuse in English football rose by 43 percent in the 2018/19 season.
A number of incidents of racist abuse tarnished matches across Europe last season.
Montenegro fans marred England’s Euro 2020 qualifier by abusing Danny Rose, Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Manchester City winger Sterling was also the victim of alleged racist abuse in a match at Chelsea and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a banana skin thrown at him by a Tottenham fan.