The 2023 Club World Cup will be held in Saudi Arabia. This was announced by the world football association Fifa after a council meeting on Tuesday. One year after the World Cup in Qatar, the next country on the Persian Gulf can host a major football event from December 12th to 22nd. The decision was unanimous. The tournament will then take place in the current format with seven clubs including the European Champions League winners.
Saudi Arabia has been positioning itself as an organizer of major sporting events for years. Formula 1 has been doing laps here at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix since 2021. Last year, Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk boxed in Jeddah for the world heavyweight championship. Saudi Arabia has paid both fighters a joint exchange of $80 million. Five-time world footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has been playing in the Saudi league since this year, and the country is also positioning itself to host the 2030 World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo has caused ecstasy in Saudi Arabia with his move to Al-Nassr. Thousands of fans welcomed the Portuguese at his official presentation. Even journalists could hardly hide their joy - despite an embarrassing slip of the tongue from the superstar.
"Every country would love to host the World Cup," Saudi Sports Minister Abdulasis bin Turki al-Faisal told the BBC. A joint application with Egypt and Greece is under discussion.
Like its neighbor Qatar, Saudi Arabia has also been criticized for human rights violations. The relationship between the two countries has been complicated and marked by rivalry for years.
From 2025, the already decided and much criticized increase in the Club World Cup to 32 teams will apply. The field of participants should be made up as follows: Europe will receive twelve starting places, South America six, Asia, Africa and the combination of North and Central America and the Caribbean four each, Oceania one. The host country is also firmly involved. It is not yet clear who will host the premiere. However, the tournament is scheduled to take place in June/July 2025.