'All for the money!': Furious fans slam FIFA for plan to launch a new 32-team Club World Cup in 2025
Gianni Infantino has confirmed that FIFA will launch a 32-team men's Club World Cup in 2025 - four years after the proposed tournament failed to take off in China due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A 32-team men's Club World Cup will be held in 2025, according to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, four years after the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the intended event from taking place in China.
The FIFA president dropped numerous bombshells in a press conference before Sunday's Argentina vs France championship game after proclaiming that Qatar 2022 was "the best World Cup ever."
"As you will certainly remember, we had agreed a few years ago to have a new men's Club World Cup with 24 teams. This should have taken place in 2021. This event was postponed because of Covid," the FIFA President said.
"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, agreed and decided. But the 32-team tournament will go ahead, making it really like a World Cup," Infantino added.
Infantino announces FIFA World Series
Infantino also announced the launch of a 'FIFA World Series', saying, "The importance of having matches between national teams of different continents more regularly, more often, the idea of that, the principle, it was agreed and elaborated on."
"[The plan] is to use the March windows, the 10 days in March, in the even years, the World Cup years, the Euros years and the Copa America years, and organise friendly tournaments between four teams, four different confederations," he added.
"So that way everyone can gain this experience of playing each other, under of course, the FIFA umbrella, so the FIFA World Series type of events. It will allow more matches between teams of different confederations," the FIFA President stated. He also announced plans for a Women's Club World Cup.
Before joining the new competition, the top clubs and leagues want their primary concerns—the international calendar, player fatigue, and scheduling—to be resolved.
Top European clubs agreed with Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters last year when he stated his opposition to any changes to the international calendar.
"The Premier League is committed to preventing any radical changes to the calendar that would adversely affect player welfare and threaten the competitiveness, calendar, structures and traditions of domestic football," Masters had said. "This process should also involve meaningful agreements with the leagues that provide the foundations for the game."
Furious fans liken FIFA's plan to the 'Super League'; say it's all about money for football's governing body
Similar announcements have been made by FIFA in the previous three years without providing any further information or addressing the concern that European clubs will predominate in such a competition.
Furious supporters have compared FIFA's proposals to the "Super League", while Jamie Carragher, a former defender for England and Liverpool, has called for European teams to reject the suggestions because they are "getting treated like cattle."
"Like the ridiculous idea of @FIFAWorldCup every two years, this is another one from Infantino. Players need rest at some point, they are getting treated like cattle. FIFA hate the CL & want something similar themselves. European clubs should boycott it," Carragher said on Twitter.
There are only seven clubs in the current competition, which consists of the Champions League champions and the champions of each confederation's top league. FIFA wants to replace the current yearly event, which receives little attention outside of South America, with an expanded Club World Cup held every four years.
Chelsea won last year's current format of the Club World Cup, beating Copa Libertadores champions Palmeiras in February.
UEFA opposes the idea because they believe it will undermine the dominance of the Champions League. Still, the clubs might change their minds if it is suitably attractive, especially in light of reports that FIFA is giving 150 million pounds in prize money.
Over the past two weeks, talks have taken place in Qatar, but the clubs have refused to accept the suggestions. Last Friday's meeting of the European Teams Association, representing the interests of the 220 top European clubs, was where FIFA had hoped to finalise the arrangement. However, Infantino withdrew at the last minute when it became evident that his scheme would not be approved.
Infantino said on Friday that the 2023 Club World Cup will be held in Morocco in February next year and will feature teams, including Real Madrid, after they became European champions with a victory over Liverpool in May.
Here's a look at how football fans reacted to FIFA President's 32-team format for Club World Cup from 2025: