Auckland City FC of New Zealand have withdrawn from this year’s FIFA Club World Cup tournament scheduled for Qatar next month. Qatar have made preparations for the tournament as they bid to use it to prepare for the World Cup tournament billed for the end of next year.
The FIFA Club World Cup tournament has been scheduled to hold in Qatar from February 1 to February 11, 2021, while the FIFA World Cup tournament will also hold in the Asian nation of Qatar from November 21 to December 18, 2021. 32 teams will qualify for the FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar at the end of 2022, while the number of teams at this year’s FIFA Club World Cup tournament has been reduced from seven to six teams due to the withdrawal of New Zealand club Auckland City.
Auckland City FC of New Zealand had to pull out of the FIFA Club World Cup tournament in Qatar next month because of Covid-19 restrictions. The Covid-19 restrictions in New Zealand mean that Auckland City FC won’t be able to attend the tournament that starts in less than two weeks.
Auckland City FC of New Zealand qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup tournament as the representative of the Oceania continent. The New Zealand club informed FIFA on Friday that it won’t be part of the tournament due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the quarantine measures required by the authorities in New Zealand. In its response, world football’s governing body FIFA said the situation is beyond the body’s remit.
The absence of Auckland City FC of New Zealand means that hosts Al-Duhail will get a bye into the second round of the tournament. The six-team tournament draw is expected to hold at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland this week. New Zealand and FIFA are not done yet as they are the co-hosts of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament alongside Australia.