Auckland City FC yesterday pulled out of the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and related quarantine measures required by the New Zealand authorities.
The withdrawal will mean that QNB Stars League champions Al Duhail will start their Club World Cup campaign in the second round of the home tournament.
FIFA yesterday announced that despite regular exchanges with the club, New Zealand Football and the OFC in recent days, the requirements of the New Zealand authorities in relation to isolation and quarantine go beyond FIFA’s remit and, therefore, it was not possible to reach a solution.
FIFA together with the Qatari authorities, will implement a comprehensive medical and security protocol providing the safeguards required to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the competition.
The club tournament will now be contested by six teams.
Al Ahly SC, FC Bayern Munich, Ulsan Hyundai FC and Tigres UANL are already bound for Qatar, while the winners of the CONMEBOL Libertadores final scheduled for January 30 will also receive a ticket to the FIFA tournament.
Despite the cancellation of the first round match between the QSL champions and the OFC champions League winners, the competition format remains unchanged.
The draw to finalise the pairings will take place in Zurich on January 19.