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European Top Leagues Against The New Club World Cup

The format is such that the strain on the calendar will become even more intense.

In Saudi Arabia, the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup 2023 winner is about to be determined (the final will take place on December 22). Concurrently, the FIFA Council has established criteria for qualification for the next edition, scheduled for 2025.

The new tournament will take place in a new format in the USA. FIFA has decided to entrust the tournament to America because, according to its representatives, the country has already proven itself a «trusted leader in organizing global events.» Additionally, this will allow the USA to prepare thoroughly for the 2026 World Cup. Infantino stated that the new Club World Cup will resemble the main global tournament for national teams. The FIFA president promotes the updated competition as the «pinnacle of elite professional football,» which is understandable: organizing another tournament, especially of this magnitude, is a way to earn more.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino: «Clubs play a fundamental role in world football, and the Club World Cup 2025 will be a significant milestone in providing clubs from all confederations with a suitable arena to showcase themselves at the highest level.»

The Club World Cup 2025 will last a month, from June 15 to July 13. Throughout this time, 32 participants will compete to reach the final. Eight groups of four teams each, with the top two advancing to the playoffs – much like the World Cup. Europe will have 12 clubs, South America six, Africa, Asia, and CONCACAF four each, and Oceania one.

Since there won't be a qualification tournament, FIFA has set criteria for selection. Performance indicators of clubs from all confederations in continental championships over a four-year cycle (from 2021) will be considered. Winners will automatically qualify, while the rest will be selected based on continental rankings.

The calculation for all teams, except European teams, is as follows:

  • 3 points for a win;
  • 1 point for a draw;
  • 3 points for progress at each stage of the tournament.

For Europe, only results in the Champions League will be considered, and the calculation methodology will be as follows:

  • 2 points for a win;
  • 1 point for a draw;
  • 4 points for reaching the group stage;
  • 5 points for reaching the Round of 16;
  • 1 point for advancing to each subsequent stage.

An important criterion is that there can be a maximum of two teams from one country. The exception is if more than two Champions League winners from one country are identified during the four-year qualifying cycle.

19 out of 32 teams are already known.


  • Chelsea - Winner of the UCL 2020/2021;
  • Real Madrid - Winner of the UCL 2021/2022;
  • Manchester City - Winner of the UCL 2022/2023;
  • Winner of the UCL 2023/2024;
  • The top teams in the UEFA four-year ranking (from first to eighth place), currently five clubs are known: Bayern, PSG, Inter, Porto, and Benfica; contenders for three more spots are Barcelona, Atletico, Juventus, Napoli, Lazio, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund, and Red Bull Salzburg.


  • Palmeiras - Winner of the Copa Libertadores 2021;
  • Flamengo - Winner of the Copa Libertadores 2022;
  • Fluminense - Winner of the Copa Libertadores 2023;
  • Winner of the Copa Libertadores 2024;
  • The best team in the CONMEBOL four-year ranking (likely to be River Plate);
  • The second-best team in the CONMEBOL four-year ranking (likely to be Atletico Mineiro).


  • Al Hilal - Winner of the AFC Champions League 2021;
  • Urawa Red Diamonds - Winner of the AFC Champions League 2022;
  • Winner of the AFC Champions League 2023/2024;
  • The best team in the AFC four-year ranking.


  • Al-Ahli - Winner of the CAF Champions League 2020/2021 and 2022/2023;
  • Wydad Casablanca - Winner of the CAF Champions League 2021/2022;
  • Winner of the CAF Champions League 2023/2024;
  • The best team in the CAF four-year ranking.


  • Monterrey - Winner of the CONCACAF Champions League 2021;
  • Seattle Sounders - Winner of the CONCACAF Champions League 2022;
  • Leon - Winner of the CONCACAF Champions League 2023;
  • Winner of the CONCACAF Champions League 2024.


  • Auckland City - The best winner of the OFC Champions League in the OFC four-year ranking (a team that cannot be surpassed in the ranking).

The leagues unite against FIFA. They say that no one consulted with them

FIFPro, a global organization representing over 65,000 players, has released a statement accusing FIFA of «insufficient attention to the mental and physical health of footballers» due to the new tournament significantly reducing the rest time for players. FIFPro pointed out that some players in the 2024/2025 season may play more than 80 matches (for club and national team), which is already 10% more than the current maximum. Additionally, players are supposed to have 28 days of rest in the offseason. Still, considering the calendar's density in national leagues and national teams (with Euro 2024 at least), the current tournament does not fit within reasonable limits.

«Such loads lead to exhaustion, physical injuries, mental health issues, decreased performance, and risks to the length of the career,» the statement says. «Players have repeatedly expressed concern about the growing workload. Unfortunately, FIFA's announcement in March 2023 about creating a working group on the fundamentals of player welfare has not seen further development. FIFPro's requests to initiate this process have gone unanswered. Consequently, FIFA's current process in solving the global match calendar problem excluded player unions from discussing the future format of competitions and ignored players' opinions, even though it concerns their health, well-being, and performance.»

The Daily Mail reported that the Premier League has officially lodged a complaint with FIFA. It was signed by the World Leagues Forum, representing 44 leading national leagues worldwide, including La Liga, Serie A, and the Bundesliga.

According to the publication, the letter is sharp: it points out the blatant disregard for the well-being of players, the cynical preference for financial gain over the fairness of football, the disorderly calendar (the final is scheduled just three weeks before the start of the season in national leagues), which will affect the players' health. It also highlights the incredible selfishness of FIFA, with leagues claiming that the governing body treats clubs as «pawns in a game aimed solely at filling the coffers.»

Arsene Wenger, who currently holds the Head of Global Development position at FIFA, disagrees with all the accusations

«This tournament will be held every four years, and of course, rest periods during and after the competitions must be observed,» Wenger told The Athletic. «But over the past 20 years, players' well-being has sharply increased — look at nutrition, achievements in medical technology, the recovery process after injuries. The positive impact the tournament will have on clubs will be huge. It will increase teams' resources worldwide, contributing to development and competition. We've been fortunate in Europe, but it's important that we make football truly global. And the revamped World Cup gives other clubs a chance to progress.»

Published by Patrick Jane