When is the 2022 Club World Cup?

The best each continent has to offer gathers in Morocco this February to battle for the crown of what is known as the 2022 Club World Cup (even though it takes place in 2023).

Before FIFA and all of their collective wisdom can wreak further havoc on the already congested calendar by expanding the competition to a 32-team slog each summer, the Club World Cup remains a mini-tournament between the best club side of each region across the globe.

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming battle for worldwide sporting supremacy.

The lucky seven clubs which will duke it out for global recognition come from all four corners of the globe, they are listed below:

Al Ahly (Egypt)
Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia)
Auckland City (New Zealand)
Flamengo (Brazil)
Real Madrid (Spain)
Seattle Sounders (USA)
Wydad Casablanca (Morocco)

Theoretically, the winner of each continent’s premier club competition gets a spot in the tournament.

Chelsea are the holders but Real Madrid knocked them out of last season’s UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Los Blancos went on to win the tournament and so booked their place in the Club World Cup.

Flamengo squeezed past Athletico Paranaense in October’s Copa Libertadores final, the South American equivalent of the UEFA Champions League. Before steering Morocco to the World Cup semi-finals, Walid Regragui led Wydad Casablanca to their third CAF Champions League title last summer.

As winners of the top flight in the tournament’s host nation, Morocco, Wydad would have been granted a place in the competition anyway. Egypt’s Al Ahly lost the continental final to Wydad and so were given a spot in February’s footballing jamboree.

Seattle Sounders and Auckland City won the top club competition in the CONCACAF and OFC regions respectively but the AFC Champions League final isn’t scheduled until May 2023. As the reigning champion from 2021, Al Hilal were selected as the Asian representatives.

Real Madrid are the record champions with four global titles between 2014 and 2018. Brazilian side Flamengo won the forerunner to the Club World Cup (the Intercontinental Cup) in 1981 but have never claimed gold at the new tournament.

As serial champions of the OFC Champions League, Auckland City have competed in nine editions of the Club World Cup. The New Zealand giants recorded their highest finish in 2014, rising up to third in the global standings.

Egypt’s Al Ahly have finished on the podium three times (2006, 2020, 2021). Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal have never made it beyond fourth place and Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca lost their only previous appearance in the competition, falling to a 1-0 defeat against Mexican side Pachuca in 2017.

MLS side Seattle Sounders will be competing in the competition for the first time.

Before getting stuck into the nitty-gritty of the upcoming tournament, FIFA will have to conduct a draw to decide the second-round fixtures.

Al Hilal, Wydad Casablanca, Seattle Sounders and the winner of Al Ahly and Auckland City’s first-round match will compete in two fixtures decided by a draw which will be held on 13 January 2023 at the Mohammed VI Football Academy in Sale, Morocco.

The winners from those two ties will face either Flamengo or Real Madrid in the semi-finals before a third-place playoff and the final.

Don’t be fooled by the competition’s title. Confusingly, the 2022 Club World Cup will be held between 1 February 2023 and 11 February 2023. The 2022 men’s international World Cup took the normal December slot which the club-version of the competition normally holds.

The first round match between Al Ahly and Auckland City will take place on 1 February 2023.

The two second round matches will be contested on 4 February 2023.

The first semi-final will be held on 7 February 2023 before the other finalist is decided on 8 February 2023.

The two losers from the semi-finals will meet in the third-place playoff on 11 February 2023 before the final takes place later that same day.

Morocco will be hosts of the Club World Cup for the third time in ten years. The first time the north African nation staged the tournament Raja Casablanca made it all the way to the final before losing 2-0 to Bayern Munich in 2013. Real Madrid were crowned champions in Marrakesh the following year.

The 65,000-seater Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier will take up half of the hosting duties, alongside Rabat’s Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, which holds up to 60,000.

Channel 4 won the exclusive, terrestrial rights to show the 2021 Club World Cup in the United Kingdom but a broadcaster for this year’s tournament has not been announced as of yet.

In the United States, coverage of all matches will be live on FOX Sports and FOX Deportes.