(Football news) FIFA has sensationally revealed that an expanded format of the Club World Cup will take place every four years starting from June 2025, featuring 32 teams. FIFA President Gianni Infantino revealed the plan after a Council meeting in Qatar on Friday and also revealed that the 19th edition of the Club World Cup, which is due to be held from 1-11th February 2023, will take place in Morocco. The North African country has previously hosted the tournament in 2013 and 2014 with Japan, United Arab Emirates and Qatar taking over as hosts in the following years.
“The best teams in the world will be invited to participate. It has to be an ambition and mission of Fifa to organise its events in new countries. We have seen the importance of teams from different continents happening more regularly. We want to use the March windows in even years to organise friendly tournaments between four teams of four different confederations under the Fifa umbrella – Fifa World Series events. For women’s football, it will be very similar. We want to create a new women’s Club World Cup and a new Fifa Futsal Women’s World Cup every four years. We would like to see if the women’s Olympic tournament can have 16 teams (up from 12) like the men’s does.”
As things stand, the Club World Cup takes place annually with seven teams from six confederations participating. FIFA had proposed to expand the tournament to 24 teams with the event taking place every four years in 2018 but the proposal was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 32 team Club World Cup format is now scheduled to be played in the same slot FIFA had originally kept for the Confederations Cup, a year before the World Cup is held. The decision has shocked domestic leagues, who have not been notified about these plans with no MOU signed while organisations like global players’ union Fifpro and the World Leagues Forum (WLF) have also criticised the announcement.
Global players’ union Fifpro said in a statement the plan could have “serious consequences for and aggravate pressure on the welfare and employment of players. These decisions were taken unilaterally without seriously consulting, let alone agreeing, with the players.” The World Leagues Forum (WLF) said in a statement “As the calendar is already overloaded, with long-standing domestic club competitions and ever-expanding international competitions, Fifa’s decision creates the risk of fixture congestion, further player injuries and a distortion of competitive balance.”