In 2025, the USA will host FIFA’s revamped Club World Cup with an increased number of teams. FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced that the event will expand to 32 teams.
There will be 12 European teams participating. That includes the UEFA Champions League winners from 2021-24 (Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Manchester City). Using the same criteria over the same four-year period, the remaining European clubs will be selected.
Six teams from South America, including the Copa Libertadores champions from 2021-2024, are part of the remaining 20 spots. Additionally, four representatives from the Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) will be present.
The top-ranked club from Oceania’s Champions League winners in the years 2021–24 also qualifies. Finally, a team from the host country’s team and four more teams from Africa and Asia complete the squads.
Tebas slams FIFA after Club World Cup expansion
The president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, has been critical of the new structure in his recent interview. The financial stability of European teams would suffer. Moreover, the schedule will yield intolerable strain, he claims.
“For FIFA it is only related to power. The Club World Cup – 85 percent of the money they are getting in, they are going to distribute to the clubs, there is only going to be 15 percent for the confederations and the organizers. So I don’t think it’s all about money necessarily, because FIFA deal with huge amounts of money
“I think it’s more a power issue. [Gianni] Infantino has long wanted this Club World Cup to compete with the Champions League, and so there’s a difference in power between FIFA and UEFA because of that.”
La Liga president could even take matters to court
FIFA, according to the La Liga president, is only interested in expanding. The two governing bodies want to capitalize on the prestige of the top clubs. He claims it doesn’t help soccer as a whole in any way.
“I think the key issue behind this is: we are managing the world football calendar for 300 elite players and 20 elite clubs. And we just can’t do that. We have over 1,500 professional clubs and over 40,000 professional players, and we are just thinking about the elite, and not thinking about all those other professional footballers.
“What really worries us is that there is going to be a much bigger difference in the money received by bigger clubs compared with other clubs in those domestic leagues. They [FIFA] have to think about all the different effects, and maybe they should realize they shouldn’t be doing this competition.”
To the question, “Can La Liga take FIFA to court?” Tebas said, “Well, it’s not that we can, it’s what we are going to do! “In the World Leagues Forum, they’re now carrying out a study on possible claims. And we are very clear on this – if it is not going to be led by the World Leagues Forum, La Liga is going to take them [FIFA] to court.
“We are not going to wait for decisions from elsewhere. We are very clear that this is going to cause a lot of damage to the national leagues, and if we have to go to court by ourselves, we will do so, and that is it.”
PHOTO: IMAGO & NurPhoto
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