ZURICH: FIFA has confirmed the next step on the road to the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 will be this year’s staging in the Gulf state of the Club World Cup which kicks off on December 11 with the champions being crowned on December 21.

The dates of the tournament taking place in Qatar have been set by the bureau [confederation prsidents] of the FIFA Council.

In its current format featuring seven teams, the FIFA Club World Cup will again consist of eight matches, with the draw that will determine the pairings for the second-round matches and the semi-finals taking place at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on September 16.

Three participants have already been confirmed: CF Monterrey from Mexico (winners of the 2019 Concacaf Champions League), Hienghène Sport from New Caledonia (winners of the 2019 OFC Champions League) and Liverpool FC from England (winners of the 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League). The participants from CAF, AFC and CONMEBOL will be known in the coming months.

The club representing hosts Qatar will depend on the outcome of the ongoing AFC Champions League. If a team from Qatar are the AFC champions, they will qualify directly for the second round of the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019, with the AFC runners-up playing the opening match against Hienghène Sport.

If the AFC Champions League winners are not a club from Qatar, then the current holders of the Qatar Stars League title, Al Sadd SC, will play the opening match against Hienghène Sport on 11 December.

The winners of the first-round match and the representatives of the AFC, CAF and Concacaf, who will be drawn in no particular order as teams A, B, C and D, will contest the second round. The second‑round winners will face the UEFA or CONMEBOL representatives in the semi-finals, with the respective pairings having been previously defined by the draw.

The stadiums hosting the tournament, as well as the kick-off times, will be announced in due course and followed by the relevant ticketing information on FIFA.com/tickets.