Fifa, soccer’s governing body, has awarded the United Arab Emirates with hosting rights to this year’s delayed Fifa Club World Cup, the clubs' tournament which will now be held in early 2022 after a coronavirus-induced delay.

The 10-team tournament, which involves the winners of the various pan-continental club competitions as well as the domestic league champions from the host nation, was originally going to be held in Japan, only for that country to pull out from hosting earlier this year due to fears about the potential spread of Covid-19.

The precise new dates for the competition have yet to be arranged.

After Japan pulled out, Fifa held talks with authorities in South Africa in September around that country staging the tournament, but those conversations did not progress – again, because of the desire to get more of the country vaccinated first.

Qatar was also in contention to host the CWC, as a dry run before that country puts on the Fifa World Cup in November and December next year, but its stadiums are already set to stage the national teams’ Arab Cup later this year, meaning space could not be found.

It was initially reported earlier this month that Fifa was planning on pushing the tournament back to early next year, as the list of potential replacement hosts grew short.

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The CWC, which Fifa has been at pains to build up in terms of its international appeal as much as possible in recent years, was originally due to switch to a 24-team format this year and to start a multi-year hosting rights deal with China.

However, that plan was then shelved because of the pandemic’s initial impact, with Fifa unable to raise the necessary funding to hold such an expanded tournament this year.

Indeed, it remains to be seen whether a 24-team version will ever be held, given the lack of space in the upcoming global soccer calendar in which to shoehorn in a tournament of that size.

The inaugural Club World Cup was held in Brazil in 2000.