The FIFA Club World Cup 2023 features seven games, all staging in the Saudi Arabia city of Jeddah.
The stage has been set for Saudi Arabia’s edition of the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup, which will mark the final version of the tournament in its current seven-team format.
Breaking new ground next December, the FIFA tournament will take place for the first time in Saudi Arabia, bringing together the champions of the six continental confederations and the host nation’s most recent league champions.
The FIFA Club World Cup has been hosted five times in the United Arab Emirates and twice in Qatar.
However, this year, host city Jeddah will provide the backdrop for the football extravaganza between 12-22 December.
The first match will witness Saudi Pro League champions Al Ittihad take on Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Champions League winners Auckland City at King Abdullah Sports City.
Only two venues will host the 2023 edition, King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, which is home to the Al Ittihad squad and carries a capacity of 62,345 seats, and Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium, which can hold an audience of 27,000.
Treble winners, Manchester City will debut in the tournament for the very first time and will look to add a fourth title to coach Pep Guardiola.
The famed Guardiola is on the verge of history as he has a record for three FIFA Club World Cup titles and seeks to compete against three-time champion Carlos Ancelotti of Real Madrid, who holds the most Club World Cup titles, at five.
Succeeding in all three of his Club World Cup campaigns as coach, Guardiola’s spell with Barcelona and Bayern Munich saw him lift titles in 2009, 2011, and 2013.
After winning the UEFA Super Cup with City, Guardiola has been readying his Erling Haaland squad for the Saudi battle.
“We miss just one [trophy] to finish the circle and be able for this club to win all the titles we can have. It’s happening in December when we go there to play the [Club] World Cup,” the Spanish football icon said.
Change in FIFA format
This year, FIFA announced the United States is set to host the very first 32-team rendition of the Club World Cup in 2025.
First presented during Qatar’s World Cup last year by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the newly formatted Club World Cup will feature 12 European clubs, including the previous three Champions League winners, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Manchester City.
With dates for the new tournament yet to be ratified, FIFA has confirmed the US as an “ideal host’ for the new Club World Cup.
“The FIFA Club World Cup 2025 will be the pinnacle of elite professional men’s club football, and with the required infrastructure in place together with a massive local interest, the United States is the ideal host to kick off this new, global tournament,” said Infantino.
“With some of the world’s top clubs already qualified, fans from every continent will be bringing their passion and energy to the United States in two years’ time for this significant milestone in our mission to make football truly global,” the FIFA chief added.
FIFA’s bold step to increase the teams competing to 32 has caused a wave of criticism.
FIFPRO, the union representing players, has claimed the decision to expand the tournament, “could have serious consequences.”
“FIFPRO took note with surprise of today’s decisions by the FIFA Council concerning the international match calendars for men’s and women’s football that could have serious consequences for and aggravate pressure on the welfare and employment of players,” the organization said in a statement upon the announcement of the tournament’s expansion.
FIFA Club World Cup 2023 qualified teams
- Al Ittihad (Hosts)
- Manchester City (UEFA Champions League winners)
- Urawa Red Diamonds (AFC Champions League winners)
- Club Leon (CONCACAF Champions League winners)
- Auckland City (OFC Champions League winners)
- Al Ahly (CAF Champions League winners)
- Fluminense (CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores winners)
December 12 – Al Ittihad v Auckland City, King Abdullah Sports City
December 15 – Club Leon v Urawa Reds, Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium
December 16 – Al Ahly v Winners Match 1, King Abdullah Sports City
December 18 – Fluminense v Winners Match 2, King Abdullah Sports City
December 19 – Manchester City v Winners Match 3, King Abdullah Sports City
Third place play-off:
December 22 – Losers Match 4 v Losers Match 5, Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium,
December 22 – Winners Match 4 v Winners Match 5, King Abdullah Sports City