Club World Cup: Fifa to stage 32-team tournament from June 2025 - president Gianni Infantino (2022)
 Posted on : Dec 17, 2022, 10:37AM   13 total views  Category : FIFA World Cup

Gianni Infantino prepares to present the Club World Cup trophy to Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta

Chelsea beat Palmeiras in the last Club World Cup final in February, with Gianni Infantino presenting the trophy to captain Cesar Azpilicueta


Fifa will stage an expanded Club World Cup featuring 32 men's teams from June 2025, says its president Gianni Infantino.


Football's world governing body also hopes to introduce a women's version, with both held every four years.


'World Series' friendly tournaments to be played between nations of different confederations are also planned.


"The best teams in the world will be invited to participate," Infantino said of the Club World Cup.


He was speaking after a Fifa Council meeting in Qatar on Friday and before this weekend's final two games of this year's World Cup, the first to be held in the Middle East.


The Swiss also announced that the 19th edition of the Club World Cup, which runs from 1-11 February 2023, will be hosted by Morocco.


The tournament was previously held in Morocco in 2013 and 2014, and has since been hosted by Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.


"It has to be an ambition and mission of Fifa to organise its events in new countries," Infantino added.


The Club World Cup is currently held annually, mid-season, with seven teams from six confederations.


In 2018, Fifa proposed to expand the tournament to 24 teams, move it to June and hold it every four years from 2021, but those plans were put on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic.


The 32-team club tournament would be played in the same slot where Fifa has previously held the Confederations Cup for international teams, a year before the World Cup.


However, 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".


It added: "These decisions were taken unilaterally without seriously consulting, let alone agreeing, with the players."


The World Leagues Forum (WLF), an organisation representing professional association football leagues, also criticised the announcement.


"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," a WLF statement said.


As well as planning to widen tournaments, Fifa also agreed to new climate change targets at the COP26 climate conference, including pledging to a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030.


Fifa aims to introduce women's Futsal and Club World Cup

Fifa is also planning changes to the international football calendar to protect the "health and well-being of players".


The usual September and October international windows will be combined so nations play four games across late September and early October, rather than two in each.


The other windows (November, March and June) will be unchanged but Fifa plans to use the March window in even years to organise 'World Series' friendly tournaments.


"We have seen the importance of teams from different continents happening more regularly," said Infantino.


"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."


Fifa's announcement comes a day after it and Uefa, Europe's governing body, received significant backing in their bid to block a European Super League, with a report saying Fifa and Uefa's rules were "compatible with EU competition law".


-- Courtesy of BBC Sport