Auckland City will return to Morocco in February to contest the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament will be the last run with a seven-club format before it expands to a four-yearly 32-team competition set to launch in 2025.
The Navy Blues will go to Morocco — where they won the bronze medal in 2014 — as the representatives of Oceania after winning the OFC Champions League this season.
Main photo: Auckland City’s Ivan Vicelich (right) won the Bronze Ball at the 2014 tournament, sharing the end-of-tournament podium with Gold Ball winner Sergio Ramos (centre) and Cristiano Ronaldo (left). Photo: FIFA.
Other clubs already confirmed for the tournament are Real Madrid (as Europe’s champions), Flamengo (South America) and Seattle Sounders, the first CONCACAF Champions League winner from the United States.
Auckland City assistant coach Ivan Vicelich told ACFC’s website: “It’s a great feeling to know Auckland City FC will be back in Morocco again. Morocco holds very special memories for our club and while we have positive emotions about this we are realistic to understand that this will be a tough assignment for us.”
Under the traditional format of the Club World Cup, the OFC champions have faced the national champions of the host nation in the first game.
However, with Wydad Casablanca winning the CAF Champions League, Auckland City could instead face the club they played at their first Club World Cup in 2006, Egypt’s Al Ahly, who finished runners-up to Wydad.
The 10-day tournament will run from February 2-12 (NZT) with games to be played in Casablanca, where the 67,000-seat Stade Mohammed V is expected to be the main venue used for the eight matches.
Vicelich was in Qatar for the announcement of Morocco as the host for the tournament. He and fellow New Zealanders Ryan Nelsen and Maia Jackman have been playing in a FIFA Legends Cup tournament.
Flashback to 2014: Auckland City win bronze in Morocco
To recognise Auckland City’s success at the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup, Friends of Football published this special edition of FANZ. You can read it online here: