UAE is going to host the 15th edition of the Club World Cup, officially known as the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup UAE, from 12th to 22nd December 2018. The Alibaba Cloud, a venture of the Alibaba Group, is the presenter of this edition of the FIFA Club World Cup. Champions of each of the six continents will participate in the prestigious tournament besides the national champions of the host country UAE. Spanish club Real Madrid is the clear favorite of this season as they are also the reigning champions and has achieved this prestigious trophy in last two consecutive seasons.
FIFA Club World Cup 2018 Host
The hosting application process for the FIFA Club World Cup 2018 started way back in February 2014. Brazil, Japan, and UAE submitted their declaration of interest on 30th March 2014. They then submitted the complete set of documents related to hosting this tournament on 25th August 2014. The FIFA executive committee initially selected the host in December 2014 at their Morocco conference. They then delayed their decision till March 2015. Finally, on 21st March 2015, FIFA declared UAE as the host of the FIFA Club World Cup for two consecutive seasons, 2017 and 2018.
FIFA Club World Cup 2018 Qualified Teams
River Plate is participating in this tournament as the winners of the 2018 Copa Libertadores from the CONMEBOL confederation. Real Madrid is the reigning champion of the FIFA Club World Cup and is participating this year from the UEFA confederation as the winners of the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League. Japanese side Kashima Antlers is participating in this tournament as the winners of the 2018 AFC Champions League from the AFC confederation.
Tunisian club Espérance de Tunis is participating in this tournament as the winners of the 2018 CAF Champions League from the CAF confederation. Mexican side Guadalajara is participating as the champions of the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League from the CONCACAF confederation. One of the best clubs of New Zealand, Team Wellington, is participating this year as the winners of the 2018 OFC Champions League from the OFC confederation. Besides, Al-Ain Football Club is also participating in the FIFA Club World Cup this year as the winner of the 2017–18 UAE Pro-League.
FIFA Club World Cup 2018 Venue
FIFA selected two main stadiums as the host of this year’s FIFA Club World Cup, the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain and the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The Hazza bin Zayed Stadium currently has a seating capacity of 22,717 and is one of the most sophisticated sports stadiums of the entire UAE. This stadium also hosted the match of 2017 FIFA Club World Cup. Besides this year’s Club World Cup matches, this stadium will also host the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
The Zayed Sports City Stadium is the largest ground in the UAE and currently has a seating capacity of 43,000. This stadium previously hosted several important tournaments and matches such as the 1996 AFC Asian Cup final and the 2007 Gulf Cup of Nations final. This stadium also has previous club world cup hosting experience as it organized several matches of 2009, 2010, and 2017 edition of the FIFA Club World Cup. Besides the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, the Zayed Sports City Stadium will also host the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
FIFA Club World Cup 2018 Officials
FIFA appointed a total of six referees and twelve assistant referees along with six video assistant referees. The main referees are Ryuji Sato from Japan (AFC), Bamlak Tessema Weyesa from Ethiopia (CAF), Jair Marrufo from the United States of America (CONCACAF), Wilton Sampaio from Brazil (CONMEBOL), Matthew Conger from New Zealand (OFC), and Gianluca Rocchi from Italy (UEFA).
The assistant referees of this edition’s FIFA Club World Cup are Toru Sagara and Hiroshi Yamauchi from Japan, Frank Anderson and Corey Rockwell from the United States, Rodrigo Figueiredo and Bruno Boschilia from Brazil, Elenito Di Liberatore and Mauro Tonolini from Italy, Zakhele Thusi Siwela from South Africa, Waleed Ahmed from Sudan, Tevita Makasini from Tonga, and Mark Rule from New Zealand.
The video assistant referees of the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup are Mohammed Abdulla Hassan Mohamed from the United Arab Emirates, Mark Geiger from the United States, Mauro Vigliano from Argentina, Paweł Gil from Poland, Massimiliano Irrati from Italy, and Danny Makkelie from the Netherlands.
FIFA Club World Cup 2018 Matches
The draw of the FIFA Club World Cup 2018 took place in Zurich at the FIFA Headquarters on 4th September 2018. The tournament started from 12th December 2018 with the match of the first round. Both the matches of the second round will be played on 15th December 2018. The first semifinal match along with the fifth place-decider will be played on 18th December 2018 followed by another semifinal match on 19th December 2018.
The third-place deciding match will be played on 22nd December 2018 from 5:30 PM (Local Time) onwards. And, the final match of the FIFA Club World Cup 2018 will be played on that same day from 8:20 PM (local time) onwards.
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) May 28, 2018