FIFA Club World Cup: South Africa to rival Qatar, UAE as potential hosts - sources

South Africa is attempting to stage the FIFA Club World Cup, with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates also expressing an interest in replacing Japan as hosts of this season's tournament, sources have told ESPN.

FIFA has yet to announce where or when the 2021 competition will take place following the decision by the Japanese Football Association (JFA) to step down as hosts of the competition, originally scheduled for December

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The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the JFA to withdraw from its hosting obligations in September, following Tokyo's staging of the Olympics and Paralympics without spectators attending the events.

As reported by ESPN on Friday, FIFA is now planning to postpone the Club World Cup until next February at the earliest.

But sources have said that three countries are keen to host the re-arranged tournament, with South Africa emerging as a strong contender due to the 2010 FIFA World Cup host offering the prospect of taking the Club World Cup to a new venue.

Qatar, due to host the FIFA World Cup in November-December 2022, has staged the last two Club World Cups in Doha, while the UAE has held the competition on four separate occasions.

Champions League winners Chelsea, African champions Al Ahly and Oceania representative Auckland City are the only confirmed participants in the Club World Cup at this stage. The South American team will be the winners of the all-Brazilian Copa Libertarores final between Flamengo and Palmeiras.

An African nation has hosted the tournament before, with Bayern Munich (2013) and Real Madrid (2014) triumphant in Morocco.