The Japan Football Association (JFA) stated on Thursday that the 2021 FIFA World Cup will no longer be held in Japan 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.
Reason Behind the Decision
The last time the World Cup was staged in Japan was in 2016, and the JFA had planned to host the 2021 edition as part of its 100th anniversary festivities, according to Kyodo.
The tournament is usually held in December, but due to the pandemic, the 2020 cup in Qatar was postponed to February 2021, with Bayern Munich emerging victorious.
Even as the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics went on under rigorous virus limitations, Japan has battled a record fifth wave of virus cases caused by the more extremely contagious Delta variant this summer. Anti-infection precautions are currently in place across much of the country, limiting the number of spectators at sporting events.
Withdrawal from the World Cup
After a JFA board of directors meeting, KiyotakaSuhara, Secretary-General, and CEO of the JFA announced the decision in an online news conference. Suhara said there was no more time for debate and that ideas like requiring proof of vaccination or negative testing had been discussed.
The statement states that the FIFA Club World Cup will not take place in Japan in December 2021 as a result of negotiations between FIFA and the Japan Football Association (JFA) over the status of infection with the novel coronavirus and the present conditions for hosting it.
The FIFA Club World Cup was also positioned as part of the JFA 100th Anniversary Commemorative Project, although it is difficult to forecast the state of the new coronavirus infection by the end of the year, and there are numerous constraints, such as spectator limits. They’ve concluded that holding the event in the middle of it is really challenging.
Although no replacement venue has been chosen, FIFA has stated that an announcement will be made “in due time.”