Auckland City on Friday withdrew from the FIFA Club World Cup, scheduled to be held in Qatar in February, because of the Covid-19 pandemic and related quarantine measures required by the New Zealand authorities.
“Despite FIFA’s regular exchanges with the club, New Zealand Football and the OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) 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 said in a statement.
FIFA said it would work with the Qatari authorities to “implement a comprehensive medical and security protocol providing the safeguards required to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the competition”.
The February 1-11 Club World Cup 2020 will now be contested by Qatari club Al Duhail, Al Ahly of Egypt, Bayern Munich, Ulsan Hyundai, Tigres UANL and the winners of the CONMEBOL Libertadores final scheduled for January 30.
The first round match will no longer take place and Al Duhail will begin the competition in the second round. The competition format remains otherwise unchanged.
The draw to finalise the pairings will take place in Zurich on January 19.