Sports

February 15, 2023

Saudi Arabia to host FIFA Club World Cup in 2023

Saudi Arabia to host FIFA Club World Cup in 2023

By Biodun Busari

FIFA has chosen Saudi Arabia to host the 2023 edition of the Club World Cup scheduled for the period of 12 to 22 December.

The world football governing body made the announcement on Wednesday, three days after Real Madrid lifted the trophy in Morocco.

The La Liga giants defeated the first Saudi club to reach the final of the tournament, Al-Hilal 5-3 on Saturday.

Saudi will be only the sixth host since the competition’s inception in 2000, as the country will join the league of Arab countries that have been hosting the tournament in the past five years, BBC Sport said.

Qatar hosted the 2019 and 2020 events, the United Arab Emirates hosted the 2021 tourney and Morocco hosted the just concluded 2022 edition. Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Real Madrid are the champions respectively.

Speaking on the privilege to host the competition this year, the country’s sports minister said it signaled “our desire to be a force for good.”

Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in sporting events in recent years but has been accused of using events to ‘sportswash’ its reputation.

HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal previously told BBC Sport that he believes the country will always face global criticism.

On the announcement of the Club World Cup, he said: “We are honoured and extremely excited to be given the opportunity to welcome the world’s leading football clubs and their fans to Saudi Arabia.

“Many fans will have recently witnessed our ability as a nation to compete at the highest possible level on the pitch. Now we have the chance to prove we are also world-class hosts off it.

“This is another important step forward on our journey of transformation in football and as a country and I trust all involved will see for themselves the undeniable progress being made at many different levels.

“We host international sports for the simple reason that we truly believe in the power of sport to inspire our boys and girls, to create new connections and build new relationships.”