Auckland City withdraw from Club World Cup over COVID quarantine measures


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Club World Cup - Final - Liverpool v Flamengo - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - December 21, 2019 General view of the Club World Cup trophy before the match REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari

(Reuters) - Auckland City have withdrawn from next month's Club World Cup due to the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine measures required by New Zealand's authorities, world soccer's governing body FIFA said on Friday.

The 2020 edition of the tournament, which was originally scheduled for December, is now being held from Feb. 1-11 in Qatar and brings together continental champions from across the world.

"Despite FIFA's regular exchanges with the club, New Zealand Football and the OFC in recent days, the requirements of the New Zealand authorities in relation to isolation and quarantine go beyond FIFA's remit and, therefore, it was not possible to reach a solution," it said in a statement.

Auckland City were originally scheduled to play Qatari side Al Duhail, who will now enter the competition in the second round.

The tournament will be played with Al-Duhail, Al Ahly, Bayern Munich, Ulsan Hyundai, Tigres UANL and the winners of the CONMEBOL Libertadores final between Brazilian sides Palmeiras and Santos, which is scheduled for Jan. 30.

The draw to finalise the pairings will be held on Jan. 19 in Zurich.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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