DOHA/ZURICH: A new 40,000-seater that will also be a FIFA World Cup venue in three years’ time will host the third-place play-off and final at the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December. The final itself will be on December 21.
Education City Stadium will also host Liverpool’s opener in the competition as the European champions face the winners of Match 2 in the semi-final tie scheduled for December 18.
Another 2022 venue, the Khalifa International Stadium, will host a double-header on December 17. The fifth-place match will be contested there ahead of the semi‑final showdown between the South American club champions and the winners of Match 3. Also capable of welcoming up to 40,000 fans, Khalifa International was inaugurated in 1976 and reopened in 2017 after redevelopment.
The opening match will take place at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. That means that Al Sadd SC, who have qualified as the host representatives after winning the Qatar Stars League, will play at least one game at their home ground – against Hienghène Sport.
The Qataris could yet advance straight to the second round to play African champions Esperance of Tunisia by triumphing in the AFC Champions League, which would leave the Asian runners-up contesting the opening match instead.
All three venues are a maximum of 12km from central Doha which will mean a first test for the efficiency of expanded road systems designed – hopefully – to deal with the city’s notorious traffic jams.
Matches will kick off from 17:00 local time when average temperatures – another long-standing concern – range between 15 and 24°C.