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FIFA Announced a 32-team Club World Cup in 2025 without Engaging the Actual Clubs

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has confirmed the creation of a new quadrennial men’s Club World Cup, which will begin in 2025 and include 32 of the world’s best teams.

The FIFA Council convened on Friday in Qatar to talk about a range of topics, including the schedules of men’s and women’s international football matches and competitions.

One of the most notable choices after the coronavirus epidemic forced the cancellation of the initial 24-team Club World Cup competition set for 2021 was the introduction of an expanded 32-team tournament in June 2025.

Every four years, a 32-team Club World Cup will be held, according to Fifa president Infantino. In the summer of 2025, there will be the inaugural edition. It will take a little longer during the period when we used to play the Confederations Cup because there are 32 teams, of course. “But they will be the world’s top teams. You will receive an invitation to take part.”

However, all of the specifics will be worked out in due course, and we will choose the location over the following few weeks or months in conjunction with everyone concerned.

The FIFA Council has finally made the decision to organise this Club World Cup in principle.

“But keep in mind that we were, I believe, the only football organization in the world to not have held the competition during the pandemic”.

Everyone else rescheduled, shortened, and played their competitions as we organized a Club World Cup with 24 teams for 2020. That was dropped. It wasn’t cancelled or delayed.

DOHA, QATAR – DECEMBER 16: FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks to media during the Press Conference ahead of the Third Place and Final matches of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at the Main Media Center on December 16, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Maja Hitij – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

We did so in order to accommodate the Copa America and the Euros, as well as to protect the players’ health and wellbeing and avoid overstuffing the calendar.

The introduction of the Club World Cup came the day after a significant legal opinion stating that it is permissible for UEFA and FIFA to prohibit new leagues like the European Super League was published.

According to the PA news agency, the Premier League has not yet received any official suggestions from FIFA about the Club World Cup in 2025 or the expanded World Cup the following year.

Before anything is done, the English top flight expects substantive agreements to be in place with leagues, with player welfare and the national league system being of utmost importance.

The World Leagues Forum, an alliance of 44 professional leagues, including the Premier League, welcomed the announcement.

The WLF issued a strongly worded statement that implied the decisions were made without input and posed a variety of possible risks to the overall health of the sport.

The leagues, their member clubs, the players, and the fans have all been directly impacted by these decisions, yet none of them have been discussed with, much less agreed upon, unilaterally, it read.

“Fifa’s decision increases the possibility of fixture congestion, further player injuries, and a distortion of the competitive balance because the calendar is already too full of long-running domestic club competitions and expanding international events.

“The WLF is approaching FIFA to request a transparent procedure for their calendar and competition decisions, which must involve substantive agreements with the leagues,” the WLF stated in its correspondence with FIFA.

Among other decisions made in Doha, such as the introduction of a FIFA World Series friendly competition, the FIFA Council also approved the construction of a new women’s Club World Cup.

This World Cup has demonstrated the value of regular and frequent competition between national teams from many continents, according to Infantino.

“The concept there and the agreed-upon principle—again, details are still being worked out—is to organise the March windows, the 10 days in March, in the even years, i.e., the World Cup years and Copa America or Euro years, in a friendly manner, with tournaments between four Teams from four different confederations.

FIFA World Series-style competitions are held “so everyone can have the experience of playing together, certainly under the FIFA umbrella, to allow for more encounters amongst teams from different confederations.”

The FIFA Council also opted to combine the September and October window into a single four-match window from late September until early October for the men’s 2023–2026 international schedule.

The expanded tournament would have “severe ramifications for, and increase strain on, the welfare and employment of players,” according to the “surprised” players’ association FIFPRO.

Once again, choices to scale tournaments without putting in place suitable protections are ill-considered and give no consideration to players’ performance or health, according to a statement.

“This judgement once again demonstrates that important game stakeholders are not being effectively involved in football decision-making, especially when it involves the core of their fundamental rights,” said the decision.

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