FIFA has officially confirmed that the 2025 version of the Club World Cup will feature 32 teams. The most recent version of the competition consisted of just seven clubs. Along with the planned expansion, the world’s governing body of the sport will also change the timeframe of the tournament.

For the 2025 Club World Cup, the 32 split into eight total groups. This means that each group will have four clubs. The new format would essentially be similar to World Cup or UEFA Champions League tournaments.

UEFA would have the most teams involved at the competition with 12. South America’s CONMEBOL would then have six, with AFC, CAF, and CONCACAF having four teams each. There will also be one OFC team and one more from a host nation.

2025 Club World Cup in summer limits potential hosts

Traditionally, the tournament happens in the winter months. However, FIFA plans to organize the 2025 Club World Cup for the summer. This could also potentially rule out certain Middle Eastern countries from hosting the competition. The United States emerged as one rumored host for the tournament.

Morocco was the most recent host, as Real Madrid extended its record wins in the tournament to five.

League and player organizations not happy with decision

The expansion announcement does not thrill everyone. The World Leagues Forum, an association of 40 professional soccer leagues, claimed that the move is damaging to the sport.

“As the calendar is already overloaded, with longstanding domestic club competitions and ever-expanding international competitions, FIFA’s decision creates the risk of fixture congestion, further player injuries and a distortion of competitive balance.”

FIFPRO, the worldwide player representation organization, also previously had strong words for the governing body. The groups claimed that FIFA took these decisions “unilaterally without seriously consulting, let alone agreeing, with the players.”

“Once again, decisions to scale competitions without implementing appropriate safeguards are short-sighted and pay no attention to players’ health and performance.” 

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