FIFA announces plans for expanded 32-team Club World Cup from 2025 0

Plans for a new 32-team men’s Club World Cup have been confirmed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

The current format of the tournament involves seven teams competing for the title, with Chelsea the current holders after victory over Palmeiras in the United Arab Emirates in the a delayed 2021 edition held in February.

Infantino, speaking at a press conference ahead of the World Cup final between Argentina and France on Sunday, said the 2022 tournament would continue in its current format and be held in Morocco from February 1-11, 2023.

But Infantino announced that a much wider competition would take place from June 2025, saying: “It will go ahead, making it like a World Cup”.

The FIFA boss said it would feature the “best teams in the world” but added that competition details and the location of the first expanded edition were still to be decided.

FIFA had originally planned to introduce a 24-team tournament in 2021, before the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted an anticipated inaugural edition in China, but an even bigger competition has now been scheduled from 2025 and will take place every four years.

The international match calendar will be altered from 2025, with one extended break taking in four matches in late September and early October replacing two separate windows in September and October. The governing body said that the other windows — in November, March and June — would remain unchanged.

FIFA also confirmed plans to launch friendly tournament called FIFA World Series to take place in even years and “increase the possibilities for teams from different confederations to play each other”.

Currently the top teams of every continental competition as well as the hosts’ national champion battle it out for the Club World Cup title.

European champions Real Madrid, South American champions Flamengo and Seattle Sounders, the first CONCACAF Champions League winner from the United States, will compete in Morocco.

Infantino said FIFA’s ruling council had also approved the creation of a new Women’s Club World Cup and a new FIFA Futsal Women’s World Cup, as well as the expansion of the Olympic women’s football tournament from 12 to 16 teams.

Culled from The Athletic