FIFA reworks Club World Cup schedule after Auckland City withdrawal

FIFA has announced that Khalifa International Stadium will no longer be used during Qatar’s upcoming Club World Cup following the withdrawal of Auckland City.

FIFA has adapted the competition’s match schedule after the New Zealand authorities ruled that Auckland City would be unable to participate due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related quarantine requirements.

Khalifa International Stadium was originally due to host two games but will no longer be used, with matches to now be staged at Education City Stadium and Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium (pictured).

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, which is also known as Al Rayyan Stadium, will stage the first match on February 4, with Education City Stadium to host the final on February 11. The tournament will be contested by Al-Duhail SC, Al Ahly SC, Bayern Munich, Ulsan Hyundai FC, Tigres UANL and the winners of CONMEBOL’s Copa Libertadores, the final of which will take place on January 30. Local team Al-Duhail SC will move directly to the second round following Auckland City’s withdrawal.

Visa cardholders in Qatar have been given the chance to purchase tickets for the tournament during an exclusive presale period. Visa is the official payment services partner of FIFA and is the preferred payment method for fan ticket purchases for the Club World Cup.

Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, with prices ranging from QAR10 (£2/€2.26/$2.75) for a category 3 ticket for the first five matches, up to QAR300 for a category 1 ticket for the final. Attendees will be required to present either a negative COVID-19 antigen test, a positive COVID-19 antibodies test or record of a full vaccination.

Fans will be required to wear a mask at stadiums and the surrounding precincts, as well as adhere to social distancing, undergo temperature checks on arrival and show the status of their Ehteraz track and trace application. Clinics will also be set up within each tournament venue to treat anyone with COVID-19 symptoms.

A last-minute sales phase will take place following the exclusive Visa presale, giving fans a final chance to purchase any remaining tickets.

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium was officially inaugurated last month, exactly two years ahead of Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup final. It became the fourth Qatar 2022 venue to open following Khalifa International Stadium, Al Janoub Stadium and Education City Stadium.

Image: Qatar 2022