champions-league

FIFA’s expanded new format to compete with the Champions League

(AFP via Getty Images)

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has announced the emergence of a new and expanded Club World Cup.

The tournament will now feature 32 of “the best teams in the world” and it is believed the game’s global governing body wants it to rival the UEFA Champions League.

Currently, the Club World Cup features just seven teams, made up of each confederation’s leading tournament winners. Chelsea won the last edition of the tournament and remain holders after beating Brazilian side Palmeiras in February’s final.

The expansion – originally planned for 2021 in China before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – will begin from 2025 onwards, and there are also plans for a Club World Cup to be introduced to the women’s game.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Club World Cup.

Opinion split: The Club World Cup is a big deal in South America but has yet to gain much prestige in England (AFP via Getty Images)

Opinion split: The Club World Cup is a big deal in South America but has yet to gain much prestige in England (AFP via Getty Images)

Who qualifies for the Club World Cup?

Since 2012, participants have qualified by winning the premier continental cup competition in their respective confederations.

Winners of the UEFA Champions League, AFC Champions League, Copa Libertadores, CAF Champions League, CONCACAF Champions League and OFC Champions League participate along with the host nation’s domestic league winners.

What is the format of the Club World Cup?

The Club World Cup takes place every year, usually during the Northern Hemisphere winter.

Since its inception in 2000, it has been hosted in Brazil, Japan, Qatar and the UAE. The next edition will be held in Morocco.

Generally, the Club World Cup runs for around two weeks and adopts a straight knockout format.

First Round (Game 1)

A playoff match between the OFC winners and the host nation’s domestic league champions.

Second round (quarterfinals)

The winners of Game 1 will face the winners of the AFC Champions League, CONCACAF Champions League and CAF Champions League. Four games with two winners to go.

Semifinals

The winners of the two quarter-finals will be drawn against the winners of the Copa Libertadores and the UEFA Champions League. Again four games with two winners.

Final

The winners of the semi-finals meet to decide who wins the Club World Cup.

Champions: Chelsea won the Club World Cup earlier this year (Getty Images)

Champions: Chelsea won the Club World Cup earlier this year (Getty Images)

Playoff for fifth place

The losers of the quarter-finals fight for fifth place.

Playoff for third place

The losers of the semi-finals fight for third place.

What changes are being made to the Club World Cup?

All change: Infantino announced expansion during 2022 World Cup in Qatar (AP)

All change: Infantino announced expansion during 2022 World Cup in Qatar (AP)

Ahead of the World Cup final in Qatar, Infantino announced that the tournament would be expanded to 32 of the “best teams in the world.”

“The new Men’s Club World Cup will therefore take place in 2025 and will feature 32 teams, the best teams in the world,” he said.

“Obviously the details of that still need to be discussed and agreed, but the 32-team tournament will continue, making it truly a World Cup.”

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