FIFA Club World Cup 2023: Saudi Arabia to host the tournament for the first time

The tournament will be staged from December 12 to 22, 2023…

It’s official. Saudi Arabia will host the next edition of the FIFA Club World Cup™, with the tournament scheduled from Tuesday December 12 to Friday December 22, 2023.

The tournament will be hosted in Jeddah this December. Confirmed participants include Al Ittihad, Auckland City, Leòn, Al Ahly, Urwa Red Diamonds, and Manchester City.

The announcement by FIFA comes a few days after Al Hilal faced Real Madrid, having become the first winner of the AFC Champions League and the first Saudi club to reach the tournament’s final.

Real Madrid FIFA Club World Cup

Saudi Arabia will be only the sixth host of the competition since its inception in 2000. The event was last held in Morocco and in the UAE in 2020 and 2021. Brazil, Japan and Qatar have also hosted the international sporting event in previous years.

A much-loved national sport of Saudi Arabia

The awarding of the FIFA Club World Cup 2023™ represents the latest chapter of Saudi football’s development.

Early this month, Saudi Arabia was confirmed as the host for the 2027 Asian Cup, the continent’s biggest soccer tournament held every four years, and has an active bid in place to host the 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

Football in Saudi Arabia has been in the spotlight lately due to Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to join al-Nasr and the Saudi team’s historic win against Argentina in the FIFA World Cup last year.

Saudi Arabia team

Demonstrating the country’s progress, the Saudi Arabian men’s first team marked their sixth FIFA World Cup™ appearance last year following its best-ever qualification campaign and captured global headlines in Qatar following their victory over eventual champions Argentina.

Meanwhile, their female counterparts have been on a historic run of growth and development since their establishment in 2021. They were recently crowned champions in their first-ever hosted international championship last month.

In addition, the newly formed U-17 squad will hope to follow in their footsteps after undergoing their first training camp this month.

First U17 training camp in Riyadh

The exciting trajectory of growth for women’s football in Saudi Arabia continues with the conclusion of the inaugural eight-team SAFF Women’s Premier League. There has also been a tremendous increase in sports participation across all levels, with over 200,000 girls practising sports every week and 50,000 participating in the first-ever Schools League.

Reflecting upon the decision, Saudi Arabia’s sports minister HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, said, “We are honoured and extremely excited to be given the opportunity to welcome the world’s leading football clubs and their fans to Saudi Arabia. Many fans will have recently witnessed our ability as a nation to compete at the highest possible level on the pitch. Now we have the chance to prove we are also world-class hosts of it. We look forward to showcasing our genuine love of the game and our desire to be a force for good.”

President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) and newly elected FIFA Council Member, Yasser Al Misehal, said, “The FIFA Club World Cup™ is a special competition that has delivered incredible moments. We thank FIFA for their trust in us to deliver an exceptional edition of the event.”

He added, “Saudi football is going through unprecedented growth; there is fresh energy and a sense of optimism thanks to a clear strategy across all areas of the game. Currently, we’ve more players registered at all age groups for boys and girls than ever before. We have more qualified coaches, more qualified referees, better governance, and stronger domestic leagues, including the SPL. The future is bright, and this tournament is another highlight to look forward to, especially when considering some of the fixtures and players who might participate.”

More details about the FIFA Club World Cup 2023™ will be announced on FIFA.com in due course. So, watch this space.