Japan gives up organizing Club World Cup

The Japanese Football Association (JFA) will not organize the FIFA Club World Cup at the end of the year because restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic could limit the number of spectators, the Japanese press reported on Wednesday. The annual tournament, in which the champions of the six confederations compete alongside the national champion of the host country, is scheduled for December in Japan.

But the JFA reportedly decided to give up, according to the Kyodo News agency. “The risk of increased infections and the difficulty of making a profit due to a likely viewer limit motivated the decision,” Kyodo reported, citing unnamed sources.

The JFA would be in negotiations with FIFA to postpone the Club World Cup at the beginning of next year, according to the agency. “The details of the upcoming Club World Cup will be confirmed in due course,” a FIFA spokesman told AFP.

The last club tournament held in Japan was in 2016, and the JFA planned to organize the 2021 edition as part of its centennial celebrations, he explained to Kyodo.

The competition is usually played in December, but the 2020 edition, organized in Qatar and won by Bayern Munich, was postponed to February 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Japan has been hit by a fifth wave of the coronavirus since the middle of this year., the most violent so far in the country, which pressured the government to implement sanitary restriction measures in mid-July, extended to August in most of the country. These measures could be extended again at the end of September, according to local media.