Football fans attending the COVID-delayed FIFA Club World Cup must undergo testing up to 72 hours before each match, organisers have said.
Qatari organisers have announced a number of COVID-19 countermeasures will be in place the tournament, due to start in Doha on February 4.
Spectator numbers will be capped at 30 per cent of capacity at each of the two 40,000-seat arenas that are scheduled to host matches at the event – the Ahmad Bin Ali and Education City stadiums.
“Fans will have to undergo rapid PCR or antigen tests up to 72 hours before each match,” Abdulwahab al-Musleh, sports affairs adviser to Qatar’s health ministry, told Agence France-Presse.
“If it comes out negative they are allowed to receive their ticket.”
Social distancing, mask wearing and use of Qatar’s contract tracing app and sanitiser will be mandatory, Al-Musleh added.
International fans will be unable to attend because of Qatar’s virus mitigation measures and there will be no public events, including fan zones.
While the death rate from coronavirus is low in Qatar, positive cases have risen by 15 per cent within the last week, with 59.5 new cases per 100,000 people reported.
“This slight increase means we won’t raise the capacity beyond 30 percent,” said Al-Musleh.
FIFA said it would work with the Qatari authorities to provide “the safeguards required to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the competition”.
The tournament, which features the champions of the six Continental Confederations as well as the host’s national league winners, was postponed from its original start date of last month.
The pandemic had prevented the conclusion of the Asian Football Confederation, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football Championships.
Seven teams were due to be involved, but the Oceania Football Confederation’s representative, Auckland City, withdrew due to New Zealand’s COVID quarantine measures.
Their scheduled first round opponents, Qatar’s Al-Duhail, will advance automatically to the second round.
Liverpool, who won the last Club World Cup competition, will not defend their title following their elimination from the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League round of 16.
The other teams contesting the event, due to finish on February 11, are Al Ahly of Egypt, Bayern Munich, Ulsan Hyundai, Tigres UANL and the winners of the CONMEBOL Libertadores final, scheduled for January 30.