FIFA has officially announced that the upcoming Club World Cup will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. After a delay in confirming the host city, FIFA has approved Jeddah’s facilities to hold all the matches. This news brings great excitement, especially for Saudi Pro League champions Al-Ittihad, who will enjoy a home advantage in the tournament.
Following the announcement in February that Saudi Arabia would host the Club World Cup, the specific host city was recently confirmed as Jeddah.
FIFA inspected Jeddah’s facilities and approved for all the matches to be held there. This decision means that Al-Ittihad, the Saudi Pro League champions, will have the opportunity to compete on home turf during the tournament, which is scheduled to run from December 12 to 22.
Participating Teams and Exciting Prospects
The Club World Cup will witness the debut of Manchester City, who secured their place after winning the Champions League final against Inter Milan. Joining them will be Al-Ahly, Leon, Urawa Red Diamonds, and Auckland City. The final spot for the seventh team is yet to be determined, adding to the anticipation surrounding the tournament.
Hosting the Club World Cup is a significant milestone for Saudi Arabia, which is also bidding to host the 2030 World Cup. Yasser Al Misehal, the president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, expressed delight over his country’s opportunity to host a major sporting event.
He highlighted how sport plays a crucial role in Saudi Arabia’s transformation under Vision 2030, showcasing the country’s hospitality, culture, and passion for football to the world.
Saudi Arabia’s Football Investments
Saudi Arabia has been making notable investments in football, aiming to establish a strong presence in the sport. In recent months, Al-Nassr made headlines by signing Cristiano Ronaldo, while the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s control over four leading clubs in the Pro League has attracted more talent.
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Al-Ittihad has acquired Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante, while Al-Hilal secured Ruben Neves and Kalidou Koulibaly. Additionally, there are rumours of more Chelsea players, including Hakim Ziyech and Edouard Mendy, potentially moving to Saudi Arabia.
Expanding Influence Beyond Football
Saudi Arabia’s ambitions extend beyond football, as they seek to make a mark in other sports. Earlier this month, the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf announced a merger, representing a breakthrough for Saudi Arabia’s presence in golf.
Furthermore, discussions have taken place regarding investment in tennis, indicating Saudi Arabia’s interest in diversifying its sporting portfolio.
The Club World Cup’s selection of Jeddah as the host city has sparked excitement among football enthusiasts. Saudi Arabia’s commitment to hosting major sporting events, including the upcoming tournament, aligns with its broader goals for Vision 2030.
With strong investments in football and ambitions to expand into other sports, Saudi Arabia is determined to leave a lasting impact on the global sporting stage.