FIFA is advertising the 2025 Club World Cup as the greatest club competition with 32 teams from each of the six confederations. However, the main draw remains clubs from Europe, with the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea among the sides competing. Yet, those English and Spanish teams may not be participating. Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters and LaLiga President Javier Tebas are coming together to boycott the 2025 Club World Cup.

Citing FIFA’s lack of recognition and defense regarding players’ welfare, the Premier League and LaLiga say the players for the top clubs do not have any time off. The Club World Cup is slated to start on June 15 and end on July 13. That is just two weeks after the closure of the European club calendar. Then, preseason training starts at the end of July. In other words, players like Jude Bellingham or Harry Kane, who both play on teams in the Club World Cup, would have a few weeks off.

Speaking to Sun Sport, Maheta Molango, the head of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), said FIFA is killing the sport with how many games it is having its top players take part in.

“Those who run the game need to listen,” Molango said. “If they don’t, then as unions we have a responsibility to the players to take action — and the legal route is the next step. The governing bodies have had every chance to meaningfully engage with us on this, but they have failed to do so.

“Current player workloads are unsustainable. People are realizing the amount of games being pushed into the fixture calendar just don’t fit.”

American fans would lose European talents in competitive games

Molango and the rest of the tournament’s critics are correct. Injuries as a result of overuse are common. A player like Pedri, for example, played in UEFA competitions and internationally with Spain as a teenager. Since then, he has dealt with recurring muscle injuries.

FIFA’s ambitions with the Club World Cup come down to money. More teams in the tournament means fewer players have a break. That said, more teams yield more games and further chances to sell in-game tickets and media distribution rights. In the United States, FIFA is in discussion with Apple for streaming rights to the Club World Cup.

Yet, regarding the in-game tickets, there will not be ample demand if these top European teams do not compete. For example, Manchester City playing Real Madrid in an official competition would draw a major crowd. Fans in the United States have no issue filling arenas for preseason friendlies. Having something on the line would drive up that interest. The same cannot be said for a matchup like Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa against UAE side Al Ain. Each of those two clubs has performed well in their respective confederations, but they do not get fans into stadiums.

This is not the end-all for American supporters. In all likelihood, teams will still come over for friendlies. Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Barcelona and other teams from these two leagues scheduled friendlies in the United States in 2024. They have reason to return in 2025, even though they are not playing in the Club World Cup.

Premier League and LaLiga view Club World Cup as an afterthought

Part of the reason the Premier League and LaLiga would be willing to boycott this competition in particular is because it does not sit highly on the list of potential achievements. While it is a noteworthy achievement to be the official ‘world champions,’ the focus for many is on domestic and European success. In the 20-tournament history of the Club World Cup, UEFA clubs have won the tournament 16 times, each of those coming in the last 17 years. There is no debate that UEFA produces the best club team.

Granted, Gianni Infantino wants to change that by affording other clubs from smaller confederations an opportunity.

“Clubs play a fundamental role in world football, and the FIFA Club World Cup 2025 will be a major milestone in providing clubs from all confederations with a fitting stage on which to shine at the highest level of the game,” Infantino said.

Regardless, one cannot blame European clubs for bowing out of the tournament before it begins. Unfortunately, Americans would not have the opportunity to watch competitive club games. Yet, they would still have friendlies in the summer. Moreover, the Club World Cup comes in between the Copa America and the World Cup. Both of those are in the United States. If anything, the number of opportunities American fans have to watch these players indicates the unnecessary workload of modern soccer players.