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What is the new FIFA Club World Cup?

FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced details of planned changes to the club and international game ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup final.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced details of planned changes to the club and international game ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup final.

Speaking at a press conference two days before the Qatar 2022 World Cup final between Argentina and France, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has confirmed that there will be a brand-new format for the FIFA Club World Cup from 2025 onwards, with significant expansion of the competition set to take place. The Swiss also discussed the 2022 Club World Cup, the introduction of new tournaments in the women’s game and changes to the international soccer calendar.

How many teams currently take part in the FIFA Club World Cup?

The current format of the FIFA Club World Cup sees seven clubs from six different confederations take part. They include:

  • The UEFA Champions League winners (Europe)
  • The Copa Libertadores winners (South America)
  • The AFC Champions League winners (Asia)
  • The CAF Champions League winners (Africa)
  • The CONCACAF Champions League winners (North America, Central America, Caribbean)
  • The OCF Champions League winners (Oceania)
  • The host nation’s national league champions

How many teams will take part in the new FIFA Club World Cup?

Infantino explained that there would be 32 teams taking part in the new version of the competition, which would be “like a World Cup” and would take place every four years. He added that further details on the exact format, the clubs involved and the location of the 2025 inaugural edition had still not been formalised.

The news comes after FIFA’s failed plan to expand the tournament in time for 2021. A 24-team competition had been due to be played in China but was ultimately scrapped because of scheduling complications related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Where will the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup be played?

In his press conference, Infantino also confirmed that the 2022 Club World Cup would be played, rather confusingly, between 1 February and 11 February 2023 in Morocco. The qualified teams are Real Madrid (UEFA), Flamengo (CONMEBOL), Wydad Casablanca (CAF), Seattle Sounders (CONCACAF) and Auckland City (OFC). The AFC Champions League winners haven’t yet been crowned and it isn’t clear which team will take the ‘hosts’ spot, with Moroccan champions Wydad Casablanca having qualified as CAF Champions League winners.

Which other new competitions have FIFA announced?

Additionally, there was news of other new competitions which are set to take place in the future. A friendly tournament called the FIFA World Series, which would allow clubs from different confederations to face off, has been pencilled in for even years, while a FIFA Women’s Club World Cup and FIFA Futsal Women’s World Cup will also be created. Details of those are in the post.

What changes will FIFA make to international soccer?

As well as the club game, big changes are also coming in international soccer. The 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada will be the first in which 48 nations participate (again, the format hasn’t been confirmed, with FIFA seemingly swaying between three-team and four-team groups), while the calendar will change slightly from 2025 onwards, with an international break consisting of four matches in late-September and early-October replacing two separate breaks, one of which were in each month.