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Every Four Years: A New Era for FIFA Club World Cup with Expanded 32-Team Format.

Roger Hampel


FOT: OLYMPICS


In a game-changing decision, FIFA has announced a new format for the Club World Cup starting from 2025. Doubling the number of participating teams from 16 to 32, the tournament will now be held every four years, promising more thrilling and diverse football action.


The new format will take effect after the 2023 edition of the tournament in Saudi Arabia, marking the end of the current system. In this revitalized setting, club teams from various global football confederations will have increased opportunities to prove their mettle on the world stage.


Here's a look at the proposed structure for qualifiers across different confederations:


  • UEFA: 12 clubs will be part of the tournament, featuring UEFA Champions League winners from 2020-21 to 2023-24, along with eight additional teams selected based on a four-year club ranking.


  • CONMEBOL: Six clubs will participate, including Copa Libertadores winners from 2021 to 2024, and two more teams as per a four-year club ranking.


  • Concacaf, AFC, CAF: Each of these confederations will be represented by four clubs, specifically their Champions League winners from 2021 to 2024.


  • OFC: One slot will be granted to the highest-ranked club among the OFC Champions League winners from 2021 to 2024.


  • Host country: One slot, with the club for this slot to be determined later.


With the expanded team roster, the tournament will feature a group phase consisting of eight groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group will advance to the last 16, ensuring a robust and competitive progression.


To maintain fair representation, FIFA has implemented a cap of two clubs per country, with exceptions made when more than two clubs from the same country win the confederation’s premier club competition over the four-year period. In case a club wins their confederation’s premier competition more than once during this period, a club ranking based on sporting criteria will determine access.


Following the new 32-team format, the FIFA Council has also approved the concept of an annual club competition from 2024, in light of the Club World Cup’s transition to a quadrennial event post-2023. This annual tournament will gather the winners of each confederation’s premier club competition, concluding with a final held at a neutral venue.


This dual approach—quadrennial FIFA Club World Cup and annual club competition—promises to provide more platforms for clubs worldwide to shine, enhancing the global competitiveness of club football.


The newly revamped FIFA Club World Cup 2025 signifies an exciting new era in global football. With more teams, more games, and more opportunities, it's a surefire bet that football fans around the globe are in for a treat.

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