Eight takeaways from new FIFA club tournament amid World Cup U-turn
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FIFA have approved plans for an expanded Club World Cup beginning in 2025, as the governing body’s president Gianni Infantino followed through with plans he revealed last year for the competition. The current edition sees seven teams compete for the trophy, including all of FIFA’s confederation winners, but will face radical reforms and is set to be expanded to 32 teams.
The association has also announced considerable alterations to the 2026 World Cup in North America as there will be a total of 104 games in the USA, Canada and Mexico, while the 32-country competition has been expanded to 48 teams. Infantino rubber-stamped the plans that would see 12 groups of four teams, a U-turn from the previous idea of 16 groups of three.
Express Sport, meanwhile, has looked at eight takeaways from the new Club World Cup setup, which the FIFA Council unanimously approved the alteration for the first edition in the summer of 2025. Next year’s tournament will be the last of the seven-team tournament reportedly set to take place in Saudi Arabia.
1: In the 2025 tournament, both Chelsea and Real Madrid are guaranteed to feature as the four Champions League winners from 2021 to 2024 are automatically qualified. The Blues defeated Manchester City in the 2021 final, while Carlo Ancelotti’s outfit claimed victory over Liverpool in Paris last year.
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2: The competition will switch from a yearly tradition to take place every four years instead, similar to the World Cup and half of the 24 teams taking part will be from Europe.
3: Four European spots will be taken by the four winners of the Champions League, while the remaining eight places are likely to be decided by the UEFA club coefficients.
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4: The current rankings would see Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Barcelona, Juventus, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan make up the top 12 alongside Real Madrid and Chelsea.
5: The champions of the other five confederations over four years would then make up the remainder of the competition alongside their European counterparts.
6: However, a new annual competition between the champions of FIFA’s six confederations was also approved at a congress in Rwanda, though the competition is yet to have a confirmed name it will take place in 2024.
7: The yet-to-be-named new competition would replace the current seven-team format, and then the following year the 32-team competition will hold its first tournament and will take place every four years.
8: Players will likely take exception to the new FIFA competitions as several have already complained about the number of games top-level professionals have to play amid fears of burnout, something Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has recently spoken out against.
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