By Sedara Oluwadara
FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the world football governing body will launch a new 32-team FIFA Club World Cup which will start in 2025.
Infantino revealed this at a press conference on Friday morning. He revealed a number of decisions following a FIFA council meeting.
This includes plans to change the 2026 World Cup group stage format, and the launch of a new friendly ‘World Series’ tournament to take place in even years involving four teams, each selected from four different confederations.
FIFA have long wanted to expand the Club World Cup to create a domestic competition to rival UEFA’s Champions League.
The new FIFA Club World Cup concept was initially meant to start in China in 2021 with 24 teams, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current format features just seven teams, comprising the winners of each continent, including champions of the host country.Premier League side Chelsea are the current holders, after beating Brazilian club Palmeiras in February.Infantino said:
“As you will remember, we had agreed a few years ago to have a new men’s Club World Cup with 24 teams.
This should have taken place in 2021 [but] was postponed because of Covid.
“The new men’s Club World Cup will therefore take place in 2025 and will feature 32 teams, the best teams in the world.
Of course, the details of that still need to be discussed and agreed, but the 32-team tournament will go ahead, making it really like a World Cup.
”Infantino also confirmed that Morocco has been chosen to host next year’s Club World Cup and said there would also be a new Women’s Club World Cup, but did not specify a potential start date.