FIFPro, the global soccer players union, has officially started legal action against FIFA. The move was triggered by the governing body’s continued plans to create more matches in the calendar. However, the court case essentially centers around the 2025 Club World Cup. FIFPro currently represents around 65,000 professional players around the world.

The 2025 Club World Cup in the United States expands from seven teams to 32. The tournament, typically played during winter months, is moving to the summer due to the expansion. FIFA’s updated competition will now last about one month, about four times the usual length of previous Club World Cup tournaments.

UEFA is set to see the biggest influx of clubs at the upcoming competition. A dozen European sides will feature in the expanded competition in America. CONCACAF, the hosting confederation, will see five teams play throughout the tournament. Mexican trio Leon, Monterrey, and Pachuca have already qualified, as have the Seattle Sounders. One more club from the region will also join the quartet at the competition.

Union says FIFA’s decision to expand Club World Cup ‘violates player rights’

FIFPro’s lawsuit is being led by England’s Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and their French counterpart. The groups officially submitted legal paperwork regarding the issue in Belgium on Thursday. While the wheels are now in motion, a quick case is highly unlikely. The two sides are in for a lengthy battle in the European courts.

The global player union released a statement on their decision to pursue legal action against FIFA. FIFPro claims that the move to heavily expand the Club World Cup “violates the rights of players” under current laws.

“The English Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and the Union Nationale des Footballeurs Professionnels (French player union) are, with the support of FIFPRO Europe, asking the Brussels Court of Commerce to refer the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) with four questions for a preliminary ruling,” stated the union.

“Players and their unions have consistently highlighted the current football calendar as overloaded and unworkable. However, FIFA, as highlighted in recent representations by international unions and leagues, have failed to meaningfully engage or negotiate and have unilaterally continued a program of competition expansion despite the opposition of player unions.”

Premier League, LaLiga execs previously hinted at tournament boycott

Premier League and LaLiga representatives threatened to boycott the 2025 Club World Cup. Presidents for the two massive leagues claimed that the expanded tournament disregarded players’ welfare. The 2025 Club World Cup currently starts on June 15 and runs for nearly one month. This timeframe is just two weeks after the end of the European club calendar.

LaLiga side Real Madrid then announced that they would not compete at the tournament. The Spanish giants recently won the Champions League title, automatically booking a place at the Club World Cup. Real manager Carlo Ancelotti affirmed his team’s decision by echoing concerns over player safety.

Although FIFA has rejected protecting their players, the court case could very well bring significant changes. Players, coaches, and fans have regularly complained about a congested calendar. Studies have shown that the extra matches have taken a toll on the players. Not only are injuries on the rise, but mental health concerns are also up as well.