From Yokohama to Abu Dhabi: Japan welcome new hosts UAE

The passing of hosting duties between countries has become a FIFA Club World Cup tradition. The FIFA Club World Cup 2016 Final, played in Yokohama International Stadium in front of a sold-out crowd, marks the end of Japan’s current rotation, and the tournament now heads to the United Arab Emirates for the 2017 and 2018 editions.

The 2016 Final enjoyed an official attendance of 68,742 - one of the highest ever for a Club World Cup Final held in Japan.

“The FIFA Club World Cup, the event loved and enjoyed by people around the world, will now be held in the United Arab Emirates for the next two years. It’s been seven years since the UAE last hosted the event and I'm sure the fans in UAE have been awaiting for this event to return. We can't wait to see another wonderful club football tournament held in a wonderful stadium and hosted by a wonderful nation,” said Japanese Football Association (JFA) President Kohzo Tashima.

The transfer of hosting duties from Japan 2016 to UAE 2017 took place shortly before the kick-off of the 2016 Final between tournament surprise and hosts Kashima Antlers and European giants Real Madrid.

JFA President Kohzo Tashima, FIFA Deputy Secretary General of Football Zvonimir Boban and FIFA Competitions and Events Chief Officer Colin Smith welcomed guests from the United Arab Emirates Local Organising Committee for the FIFA Club World Cup 2017 on the pitch shortly before kick-off of the historic final.

The 2016 Final marked the first time an Asian team has ever featured in the tournament’s gold-medal match. President Tashima handed over a ceremonial shirt to UAE 2017 Tournament Director Aref Al Awani, marking the official transfer of duties for hosting FIFA’s annual club showpiece which brings together the champions of Africa; Asia; Europe; North, Central American and Caribbean; Oceania; South America and the domestic league champions of the host nation to decide the next Club World Cup champion.