The penultimate edition of the Club World Cup in its current format featuring seven teams will kick off in Qatar on December 11 with the final taking place 10 days later, global football governing body FIFA announced Friday.
FIFA had said it would revamp the tournament to feature 24 teams from 2021, with Qatar hosting the final two editions in the old style as test events for the World Cup which the Gulf state will host in 2022.
Three teams for this year have been confirmed with European champions Liverpool joining CONCACAF champions CF Monterrey and Oceania's Hienghene Sport. The club representing hosts Qatar will depend on the ongoing AFC Champions League.
"If a team from Qatar are champions, they qualify directly for the second round ... with the runners-up playing the opening match against Hienghene Sport on Dec. 11," FIFA said in a statement.
"If the AFC Champions League winners are not a club from Qatar, the current holders of the Qatar Stars League title, Al Sadd SC, play the opening match against Hienghene Sport."
Participating teams from Africa, Asia and South America will be determined in the coming months. The draw for second round and semi-final matches will take place at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich on September 16. Liverpool enter the competition in the semi-final stage and take on a second-round winner on December 18.
The winners of the first-round match and the representatives of the Asia, Africa and Monterrey, who will be drawn in no particular order as teams A, B, C and D, will contest the second round. The second?round winners will face Liverpool or a South American representative in the semi-finals, with the respective pairings having been previously defined by the draw.
The stadiums hosting the tournament, as well as the kick-off times, will be announced in due course and followed by the relevant ticketing information on FIFA.com/tickets, the FIFA said in a statement.
In regard to the pilot edition of the expanded FIFA Club World Cup in 2021, the FIFA administration will analyse and proactively approach potential hosts before making a recommendation at the next FIFA Council meeting, in Shanghai on 23 and 24 October.
In the 2021 pilot edition, the 24 teams will be split into eight groups of three teams each, with the group winners to qualify for the quarter-finals in a knockout format.