FIFA approves plans for expanded Club World Cup to begin in 2025
FIFA is hoping that a new, expanded 32-team Club World Cup will help boost already soaring revenues.
In addition to announcing format changes for the supersized 2026 men's World Cup after Tuesday's council meeting in the Rwandan capital Kigali, FIFA also finalized plans for the expanded Club World Cup, one of president Gianni Infantino's key projects.
FIFA said the revamped competition will start in June 2025 and will be held every four years with club rankings determining qualifiers. Chelsea and Real Madrid, the last two winners of the UEFA Champions League, will be guaranteed spots in the 2025 event. Two more berths will be issued to the 2023 and 2024 winners of Europe's most prestigious club competition.
"We had agreed a few years ago to have a new 24-team men's Club World Cup," Infantino previously said in December. "It should have taken place in 2021 but was postponed because of (COVID-19). The new competition will take place in 2025 and will feature 32 teams, making it really like a World Cup."
However, an annual competition will also be held, similar to the existing seven-team Club World Cup which is to be discontinued after the 2023 edition.
The yearly competition will involve the six continental club champions and conclude with a final at a neutral venue between the winner of the UEFA Champions League and the winner of play-offs between the other teams.
The annual tournament was approved "given the need expressed by the confederations for the champions of their premier club competitions to play each other annually to stimulate competitiveness", FIFA said.
FIFA has projected a huge increase in revenues in the four-year cycle leading up to 2026, up to $11 billion from $7.5 billion in the four years up to 2022.