Qatar’s Education City Stadium will not host matches during the FIFA Club World Cup this month after the official opening of the venue was postponed until early 2020, football’s world governing body said on Saturday.
FIFA said the construction of the stadium was complete and the venue was operational but the necessary certification processes took longer than expected and the stadium was unable to host test events at full capacity prior to the tournament.
The Education City Stadium was due to host three games in the December 11-21 event, including a semi-final involving European champions Liverpool on December 18 as well as the third-place playoff and the final.
The 45,416 capacity Khalifa International Stadium - the home of Qatar’s national team - will now host those matches.
“The priority is to ensure an enjoyable experience for all fans so it was decided to open the (Education City) stadium at a later date,” FIFA said in a statement.
Once it is officially opened next year, the Education City Stadium will become the third tournament‐ready venue ahead of the 2022 World Cup hosted by Qatar.
The stadium is scheduled to host games up to and including the quarter-finals.
The Club World Cup currently consists of seven teams and is held every December. Qatar will stage the final two editions in its existing format as test events for the World Cup.
The tournament will be expanded to 24 teams from 2021, with China named hosts of the inaugural edition.