Ahead of Thursday’s FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021 kick off, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has sent his best wishes to host side Al Jazira Club from the United Arab Emirates and reigning AFC Champions League title holders, Al Hilal SFC – who will be representing Asia in the UAE where the global club showpiece will be held for the fifth time.
2020–21 UAE Pro League winners, Al Jazira Club will kick start the tournament when they face OFC representative club, AS Pirae from Tahiti, in the first round at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium at 8:30pm (local time), with the eventual winners advancing to face Al Hilal SFC in the second round on Sunday, February 6 at the same kick-off time and venue.
The AFC President said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to wish our Asian teams Al Jazira Club and Al Hilal SFC the very best of success on their respective campaigns and our best wishes must also go to our match officials as well as the United Arab Emirates Football Association and the Local Organising Committee.
“The football world continues to put its faith in our great Continent and no other Confederation has been entrusted to stage more editions of the FIFA Club World Cup than the AFC and its Members so I am confident that the UAE will organise another exceptional tournament.
“Our Vision is to ensure Asian football succeeds on the world stage and our teams and match officials are widely recognised for their impressive records at the FIFA Club World Cup and I am confident that they will continue to do us proud in a year where the focus is firmly on Asia.”
Al Jazira and Al Hilal are among a long list of Asian clubs that have shone at the global stage, having achieved their best performances in 2017 and 2019 respectively when both clubs finished in fourth place. The West Asian sides, however, will be aiming to surpass Asia’s best-ever showing of a runners-up medal, which was attained by Japan’s Kashima Antlers and UAE’s Al Ain in the 2016 and 2018 editions.
Meanwhile, four AFC match officials have been assigned to the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021. The duo of referee Chris Beath and assistant referee Anton Shchetinin, who were appointed to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Men’s Gold medal match between Brazil and Spain, will be joined by compatriot and assistant referee Ashley Beecham as well as video assistant referee Ammar Ali Aljneibi from the UAE.