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FIFA World Cup

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Japan to withdraw from hosting the 2021 Club World Cup.

Following consultations with FIFA's regulatory body, the Japan Football Association said on Thursday that it has abandoned its right to host this year's FIFA Club World Cup due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

As part of its centennial festivities, the JFA was planning to host the tournament for the first time in five years, but the expected spectator limits caused by the epidemic would make it difficult for the JFA to make a profit from the event.

On an official match ball, a file shot shows the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 emblem.

Following a JFA board of directors meeting, Kiyotaka Suhara, Secretary General and CEO of the JFA, announced the decision in an online press conference.

Suhara said there was no more time for debate and that ideas like requiring proof of vaccination or negative testing had been discussed.

"At this point, we had to make a decision," he explained.

FIFA hasn't settled on a backup host or dates, and the competition to determine the world's best club team, which is usually held in December, could be pushed out until after the new year, according to sources earlier this week.

The Emperor's Cup final in Japan, which is normally held on New Year's Day, could be moved to the time window vacated by the Club World Cup on December 19, according to the sources.

With the Japan national team scheduled to play 2022 World Cup final Asian qualifiers on January 27 and February 1, this would give domestic players some time to recover.

The JFA had to make a difficult decision. The Toyota Cup, the tournament's predecessor, put European champions against their South American counterparts in a one-off match, an annual spectacle that was one of Japan's football calendar's highlights.

The current event, which features club champions from six confederations, was predicted to bring in a profit for the JFA due to sold-out semifinal and final audiences of over 60,000 at Yokohama Stadium.

The JFA's profit in fiscal 2020 was 15 billion yen ($136 million), down 5 billion yen from the previous year.

According to JFA President Kozo Tashima, the lack of spectators at national team matches has prompted the federation to "dig into savings" this fiscal year, and it can no longer afford to do so.

The JFA has previously ruled out hosting FIFA's Congress and a friendly match against England this year.

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@Ahmadblogger.

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FIFA Club World Cup JFA Japan Japan Football Association Kiyotaka Suhara

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