Gianni Infantino announces 32-team men’s Club World Cup in 2025 | Club World Cup

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Gianni Infantino has risked a major row with the leading European federations by announcing that FIFA will launch a 32-team World Cup for men in 2025.

In what amounts to an ambush for the Premier League and its counterparts, Infantino confirmed the drastic expansion of a tournament whose current annual iteration sees seven teams compete. His revelation was made even though no agreements have been made with the relevant national leagues.

The renewed event will take place every four years, following Infantino. It is clear that no formal proposals have been made to the Premier League, whose position was decided in November 2021 and remains unchanged. At the time, the league’s managing director, Richard Masters, said it was “committed to preventing radical changes to the post-2024 FIFA calendar for international matches that would negatively affect player welfare and impact competitiveness, calendar, structures and threaten the traditions of domestic football.”

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There is no indication at this stage as to the likely venue for a tournament that will require significant financial backing. A comprehensive Club World Cup has long been Infantino’s hobby. In 2018, he proposed a new 24-team event that UEFA was vaguely eyeing; it was supposed to take place in China last year but was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Proceeding with a plan for an even bigger event will raise eyebrows across Europe and send some of the sport’s key stakeholders on a collision course. It is inconceivable that Infantino’s plan would not include a large number of European teams. He also confirmed that a new Women’s Club World Cup is being planned.

It was the most glaring statement by the FIFA president at a press conference held ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final in Doha, which focused on proclamations of triumph rather than issues of substance. Infantino revealed that this winter’s tournament had brought in $7.5 billion in revenue, $1 billion more than budgeted, and boasted of his “unique cohesive strength”. He offered little engagement with questions about the off-field issues that have clouded Qatar 2022 all along, saying FIFA “defends human rights” and suggesting migrant death figures linked to the tournament have not been accurately accounted for .

Infantino also announced that a new “Fifa World Series” of friendly tournaments, designed to pit teams from different continents against each other more frequently, would take place in even-numbered years during the March international break. Again, the proposal was light on details and there will be further concerns about the additional impact on players’ schedules and travel time.

There were bursts of common sense in a speech that otherwise raised far more questions than solutions. Infantino said FIFA will reconsider the format of the group stage at the expanded 2026 World Cup, the drama of this year’s quartets reducing the likelihood that the next edition will include 16 groups of three. He also said that from 2025, the September and October international windows will be merged to create one extended four-day break. A new women’s futsal world championship was also one of several new events introduced by Infantino.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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