An announcement by the city of Rio that it would apply to host the Club World Cup in December sparked debate about which Brazilian teams could play in the competition. Atlético-MG, Flamengo and Palmeiras are in the semi-finals of Libertadores and usually the national champion of the host country also participates. Will we be able to see two Brazilians if FIFA decides to award the tournament to Rio? No.
Item 2 of Article 4 of the World Cup Rules is clear: no two teams from the same national association may take part in the championship. If the rules for the 2021 edition do not change, and should not, if the continental winner is from the host country, the best placed in the continental championship, which, of course, is not also from the host federation, qualifies. It’s for the World Cup.
The scenarios would be, imagining that the world might be in Brazil:
1) If Atlético-MG, Flamengo or Palmeiras Libertadores win, they are automatically in the world, wherever it is played. If it is in Brazil, they will have the South American company of Barcelona de Guayaquil (EQU), which will be classified best in the tournament if not Brazil.
2) Barcelona wins Libertadores and qualifies as South America’s representative at the World Cup. With the tournament in Brazil, the country would have the right to nominate a representative to be the host of its national champion. Serie A is scheduled to end on 5 December and Worlds is scheduled from 9 to 19 December.
In other words, it is time for the 2021 champions to play Worlds – and the CBF, for now, has no plans to postpone the end of the Brazilian Nationals until after 5 December, even with the late Games. Even with some teams. The 2022 calendar will be tight as it will have to end in early November, as will the World Cup in Qatar – a tournament that will take place at the end of the year to reduce the heat in the Middle East. So don’t expect to see Brasileirao expanded.
On Thursday night, the prospect of Inter playing in the 2021 World Cup as runners-up in Brazil in 2020 went viral on social media if Flamengo Libertadores wins and Brasileiro doesn’t finish until the World Cup takes place. Sorry, Colorado fans, but that possibility doesn’t exist.
As was shown in yesterday’s column, there are obstacles for Rio to host the Worlds. FIFA did not like the cancellation of Brazil x Argentina for the qualifiers, almost two weeks earlier, and blamed a combo of failures by CONMEBOL, AFA and CBF, which was the host and had to observe protocol.
There are doubts about the pandemic, which despite the dwindling number of deaths and cases still imposes some restrictions in the country, such as banning the entry of travelers from the United Kingdom – and English Chelsea, the European champion, is one of the confirmed world Cup participants.
The calendar doesn’t help either: the CBF has scheduled the final of the Copa do Brasil on 8 and 12 December during the players’ holiday. FIFA asks the host country that there is no competition from elite tournaments during the World Cup, in which the Copa do Brasil fits. Flamengo or Atlético-MG are likely to be classified for the World Cup and also for the final of the Copa do Brasil, which only makes the scenario more bleak.
Japan withdrew from hosting the World Cup because they could not keep fans in stadiums because of the pandemic, and the local federation would have lost. In addition to Brazil, Egypt and South Africa showed interest in hosting the competition. FIFA had a foreshadowing for Qatar to host the previous two editions, but the country will host the Arab Cup in December and there is no way to hold both tournaments in the same period. FIFA could also postpone the Worlds to February 2022, as it did with the 2020 edition, which was in 2021, but this is not ideal as it will only further mess up the calendar.