champions-league

FIFA announces 32-team Club World Cup to rival Champions League

(AP)

FIFA announced this morning the creation of a new men’s Club World Cup starting in 2025, featuring 32 of the “world’s best teams”.

At a press conference, FIFA president Gianni Infantino revealed the details of a meeting of the world governing body’s organizing council this morning.

FIFA has long wanted to expand the Club World Cup to create a domestic competition to rival UEFA’s Champions League. The former currently has just seven teams made up of the winners of each confederation’s premier trophy, including the Champions League winners. Chelsea are the current holders after beating Brazilian club Palmeiras in February.

Infantino said: “As you will remember, a few years ago we had agreed to have a new Men’s Club World Cup with 24 teams. This was supposed to take place in 2021 (but) was postponed because of Covid.

“The new Men’s Club World Cup will therefore take place in 2025 and will feature 32 teams, the best teams in the world. Of course, the details of that still need to be discussed and agreed, but the 32-team tournament will continue, making it truly a World Cup.”

He added: “We had planned a Club World Cup in 2020 with 24 teams. It was not replaced or postponed. We did it to allow for the Copa America and the Euros and to protect the health and well-being of the players and not overload the calendar.”

Infantino also confirmed that World Cup semi-finalists Morocco have been chosen to host next year’s Club World Cup and said there would also be a new Women’s World Cup, but did not specify a potential start date.

He also announced the launch of a FIFA World Series, saying: “The importance of having matches between national teams from different continents more regularly, the idea of ​​it, the principle, was agreed and elaborated.

“(The plan) is to use the March windows in even years, World Cup years, EC years and Copa America years and organize friendlies between four teams from four different confederations so that everyone can get this experience playing against each other, under FIFA of course umbrella, then the FIFA World Series type of events.”

Despite the many controversies surrounding the World Cup, Infantino described the tournament “as a truly incredible success” and revealed that FIFA had accumulated revenues of $7.5bn (£6.2bn) for this four-year World Cup cycle, $1 billion (£820m) more than the previous one, despite the impact of the pandemic.

Chelsea are the reigning champions of the Club World Cup.  (Getty Images)

Chelsea are the reigning champions of the Club World Cup. (Getty Images)

“I think it’s pretty remarkable,” Infantino said. “FIFA Council approves budget of $11bn (£9bn) revenue in next four-year cycle.”

Infantino claimed that the controversial timing of this mid-season World Cup had led to better football rather than “at the end of an exhausting season” for the players.

“For me, the World Cup has been a really incredible success on all fronts,” he said. “The most important thing, the fans, bringing people together, meeting the Arab world, is very important for the future of all of us. But also when it comes to the games.”

He revealed that the top countries that had visited Qatar were Saudi Arabai, India, USA, UK and Mexico.

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