FIFA's plan to revamp the competition is being spurred by low attendances at the tournament, with just 3,000 watching Kashima-Chivas.
The Club World Cup is a problematic competition for European and South American sides, with those teams participating either forced to interrupt their domestic season or, in the case of Brazilan teams, to play after their domestic campaign has wound up.
The annual tournament is still viewed as a showpiece among South American sides and those from other federations who do not often get to appear on a global platform, but it is not particularly attractive on the financial front for UEFA participants: the champions in the United Arab Emirates will pocket just five million euros, whereas a Champions League match win is worth 2.7 million. The champions of Europe this season will receive 19 million euros in prize money.
The losing finalists in Abu Dhabi will get four million euros, the third-placed side 2.5 million, and the fourth-placed team two million, with the wooden spoon coming with a financial reward of just 500,000 euros.
Attendance figures in UAE a concern for FIFA
The UAE is less of an odyssey than Japan, the previous hosts, but there is concern over the number of spectators this year’s edition can expect. There were just under 4,000 fans in the Hazza Zayed Stadium to watch Kashima Antlers against Guadalajara and according to FIFA figures the average attendance last year in the UAE for the Club World Cup was 16,571, considerably fewer than in Japan in 2016 when the average was 29,804.
That is the primary reason that FIFA president Gianni Infantino has proposed changing the format of the tournament to a competition taking place every four years with 24 participating teams.
- Emiratos Árabes