FIFA and the European Club Association, or the ECA, have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding. The aim of the agreement is to stabilize the club and international schedule. The major part of that is the agreement on FIFA’s unanimously agreed match calendar.
This includes support for the expanded 2025 FIFA Club World Cup, which is set to feature a record 32 teams. Of those 32 teams, 12 will be from Europe. Some of those are the winners of the UEFA Champions League, such as Real Madrid or Chelsea. Other teams out of Europe qualify solely based on rankings.
Notably, the Chairman of the ECA, which agreed to this Memorandum of Understanding with FIFA, is Nasser Al-Khelaifi. You may recognize the name Al-Khelaifi, who is also the President of PSG, which would likely play in the revamped FIFA Club World Cup in 2025. The slots for rankings would allow teams such as PSG or Manchester City to play in the Club World Cup. Remember, neither has won the UEFA Champions League.
This Memorandum of Understanding signals more games than just the 2025 Club World Cup. FIFA and the ECA agreed to an annual game between the winner of the UEFA Champions League and a playoff of intercontinental winners. Also, a FIFA Women’s Club World Cup would be in the works for the future.
ECA agreement means European clubs commit to Club World Cup
The agreement between the ECA and FIFA will add games for the top teams in Europe. Winners of European domestic leagues and the continental competition will compete in the Club World Cup. FIFA President Gianni Infantino hopes it more resembles the World Cup.
Infantino said the agreement should help the popularity of the events and, in turn, the monetary success.
“To have the new International Match Calendar endorsed by ECA provides the necessary balance between club and national team football. We have exciting projects ahead, including the new FIFA Club World Cup in 2025 and the new FIFA Women`s Club World Cup. A close collaboration with clubs in Europe, and the rest of the world, will be essential for the success of those events.”
While the success of the events is helping, it brings a tax on the players. FIFPRO is the worldwide player representation organization. Previously, it said the proposed Club World Cup increase in number of games disregards player safety.
“Once again, decisions to scale competitions without implementing appropriate safeguards are short-sighted and pay no attention to players’ health and performance.”
PHOTO: IMAGO / FIFA Media
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