Japan ‘step down from hosting the Club World Cup this year’ as the country struggles with rising Covid-19 infections… and FIFA ‘may now look to move the tournament back’
- The Club World Cup is currently in the midst of uncertainty after Japan’s move
- Japan will no longer host the tournament as they struggle with Covid infections
- A possibility of holding matches with small crowds has also forced their hand
The Japan Football Association has reportedly decided to step down from holding the Club World Cup this year as a result of their strict Covid-19 restrictions.
The country would have hosted the tournament for the first time for its centennial celebrations, but rising infections and the possibility of a limit on the number of spectators have now forced their hand.
Kyodo News claim that the JFA are now holding talks with FIFA, with the global governing body currently undecided over who will step in to replace Japan, or whether the showpiece should be pushed back.
The Japan Football Association has reportedly dropped out of hosting the Club World Cup
The Club World Cup looks to crown the greatest club side in the world, and as traditionally held in December. It may be moved, however, until after the turn of the year due to the pandemic.
Sportsmail has recently reported that Chelsea were mired in uncertainty in their bid to win the trophy for the first time because of the situation, although FIFA remain keen to allow supporters to attend.
This may prove difficult, though, with Japan battling against a fifth wave of infections, as well as a slow vaccination rollout.
Chelsea’s bid to win the trophy for the first time is now uncertain as a result of the pandemic
There has also been political fallout from the government’s handling of the health crisis, including their choice to push ahead with the Olympics and Paralympics.
Tensions came to a head when Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga submitted his resignation after just 12 months in office.
His successor after the general election is unlikely to give the green light for fans to flock to Japan to watch football, it is understood.
The Club World Cup was expected to make a profit for the JFA, depending on full crowds of over 60,000 attending the semi-finals and final at Yokohama Stadium.
Japan hosted the Olympics and Paralympics, but the country is battling with rising infections
Qatar is said to be the obvious alternative host, having held the delayed 2020 version this year
But the restrictions would have led to an operating loss instead, and the organisation has been forced to take drastic measures.
The JFA have already been made to give up on playing host to FIFA’s Congress and a friendly clash against England.
‘Unless we forge a path to where events can be staged in coexistence with the virus, soccer as well as other sports won’t be able to maintain themselves,’ a senior JFA official said, as quoted by Kyodo News.
Qatar is believed to be the obvious alternative venue after they held the delayed 2020 version of the tournament, which was won by Bayern Munich.