(Zurich) The 2023 Club World Cup will be played in Jeddah, a city in Saudi Arabia where national champion Al-Ittihad plays, who has just hired Karim Benzema, FIFA announced.
Al-Ittihad will be joined by the six continental champions, including UEFA Champions League winners Manchester City, for the tournament which will be played from December 12-22. This will be the last edition in the current format. A new 32-club competition will be launched in the United States in 2025.
Benzema will try to defend the trophy he won with Real Madrid in February. The Spaniards had beaten the Saudis of Al-Hilal in the final played in Morocco.
Al-Ittihad will kick off the tournament in the first round against Oceania champions Auckland City. The winner will advance to the second round, joining Leon (Mexico / CONCACAF), Al-Ahly (Egypt / CAF) and Japan’s Urama Red Diamonds (Asia).
Man City and the South American champions will join the competition in the semi-finals. The Copa Libertadores final will take place on November 4.
Every continental champion from 2021 to 2023, except those from Oceania, is automatically qualified for the 2025 tournament.
FIFA had identified Saudi Arabia in February for the holding of this tournament. The kingdom will also host the 2027 Asian Cup and should be one of the contenders for the organization of the 2034 Men’s World Cup.