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SOCCER

US in contention to host Club World Cup as Real Madrid eye sextuple

The Club World Cup could be held in February 2023, with the United States overtaking Abu Dhabi and China as the frontrunner to host the tournament.

Update:
The Club World Cup could be held in February 2023, with the United States overtaking Abu Dhabi and China as the frontrunner to host the tournament.
Jason O'Rear PhotographyDIARIO AS

The United States is a serious candidate to host the next FIFA Club World Cup, AS has learned.

With this season’s global soccer schedule placed under strain by the decision to hold the Qatar World Cup in November and December, FIFA is yet to confirm when - or if - the club tournament will go ahead.

Club World Cup in first week of February?

As things stand, world soccer’s governing body is eyeing the week of 6 to 12 February 2023 for the semi-finals and final of the Club World Cup, which involves the champions of every continental confederation.

These potential dates fall just prior to the first round of UEFA Champions League last-16 first legs, which are scheduled to be played on 14 and 15 February.

In Spain, FIFA’s proposed dates clash with this term’s Copa del Rey, whose semi-final first legs have been set for 8 and 9 February. However, were Champions League holders Real Madrid to qualify for the last four of the domestic cup competition, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) would be willing to adapt.

Mindful of the importance FIFA places on the Club World Cup, the RFEF would seek out an alternative date on which Los Blancos could play a Copa last-four tie.

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos lifts the Club World Cup in 2017.
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Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos lifts the Club World Cup in 2017.KARIM SAHIBAFP

FIFA unable to seal deal with Abu Dhabi, China

FIFA had sought to stage the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, which has hosted recent editions of the event, while China was also in the running. However, no agreement could be reached with either venue, leading the US to emerge as the frontrunner to hold the tournament.

As European champions, Madrid would be given a bye to the semi-finals, as would the winners of South America’s Copa Libertadores, which is currently taking place. The final of the Libertadores, scheduled for 29 October, will be an all-Brazilian affair between Flamengo and Atlético Paranaense.

Madrid keen for shot at historic sextuple

Madrid, who are four-time winners of the Club World Cup, are eager to ensure the competition takes place this season, as they have set themselves the target of securing the first ever sextuple in the club’s history.

Without the FIFA tournament, Carlo Ancelotti’s men would be limited to at most five pieces of silverware in 2022/23: the UEFA Super Cup (won against Eintracht Frankfurt in August), the Spanish Super Cup, LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

Madrid enjoy huge prestige in the US - as was shown in July’s Clásico clash with Barcelona in Las Vegas, where 80% of the fans in the stands at Allegiant Stadium were supporters of Los Merengues.

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