Rio’s announcement that it will bid to host the Club World Cup scheduled for December has sparked controversy over which Brazilian teams could play in the competition. Atlético MG, Flamengo and Palmeiras qualify for the semi-finals of the Libertadores, and the national champions of the host country usually also participate. Will we be able to see Brazilian players if FIFA decides to award Rio the championship? No.
Clause 2 of Article 4 of the World Cup regulations is clear: two teams from the same national association cannot participate in the tournament. If the rule does not change for the 2021 edition, and it should not, if the continental winner is from the host country, the best ranked in the continental tournament, which, of course, is also not from the host federation, qualifies for the World Cup.
The scenarios would be as follows, imagine the worlds could be in Brazil:
1) If Atlético-MG, Flamengo or Palmeiras win the Libertadores title, they will automatically be in the world wherever you play. If in Brazil, they would have the South American Barcelona de Guayaquil (EQU), which would be the best-ranked in the tournament if not Brazilian.
2) Barcelona won the Libertadores title and qualified as the representative of South America in the World Cup. With the championship in Brazil, the country will have the right to nominate a representative for being the host country, its national champion. Serie A is due to end on December 5th and the World Championships is scheduled to take place from December 9-19.
In other words, there is time for the 2021 champions to play the worlds – and the Brazilian Football Confederation, at the moment, has no plans to delay the end of the Brazilian national team until beyond December 5th, even with some teams running late to matches. The 2022 calendar will be tight as it will have to end in early November, due to the World Cup in Qatar – the tournament taking place at the end of the year to reduce the heat in the Middle East. So don’t expect to see Brazil stretched out.
On Thursday evening, the possibility of Inter playing in the 2021 World Cup finals as runners-up in Brazil in 2020 spread on social media, if Flamengo wins the Albertadores and Brazil does not finish until the World Cup. Sorry, Colorado fan, but that possibility doesn’t exist.
As yesterday’s column showed, there are barriers for Rio to host the Worlds. FIFA did not like the cancellation of the Brazil-Argentina qualifier match, almost two weeks ago, blaming a combination of failures by CONMEBOL and the Asian Football Confederation as well as the Brazilian Football Confederation, which was the host and had to monitor protocols.
There are doubts about the epidemic, which despite declining numbers of deaths and cases still imposes some restrictions in the country, such as a ban on entry for travelers from the United Kingdom – and Chelsea, the European champion, is one of the sureties participating in the World Cup.
The calendar doesn’t help either: the Brazilian Football Confederation has scheduled the Copa Brasil finals on December 8-12, during the players’ holiday. FIFA requires the host country to have no competition during the World Cup from the elite tournaments, to which the Brazil Cup fits. There is also the possibility that Flamengo or Atlético MG will be ranked in the World Cup and also for the Brazil Cup finals, which makes the scenario even more ambiguous.
Japan withdrew from hosting the World Cup because it could not put fans in stadiums due to the epidemic and the local federation would have lost. Besides Brazil, Egypt and South Africa have expressed interest in hosting the competition. FIFA has been fond of Qatar, which hosts the last two editions, but in December the country will host the Arab Cup and there is no way to organize both tournaments in the same period. FIFA could even postpone the World Championships to February 2022, as it did with the 2020 edition, which was in 2021, but it’s not ideal as it will only spoil the calendar even more.
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