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USA Prepares for Three Consecutive FIFA Tournaments.

Roger Hampel


FOT: BK READER



The United States is all set to be the hub of international soccer excitement as it gears up to host three significant FIFA tournaments consecutively, confirming the country's rise in the global soccer scene. The U.S., recognized for its vast experience in managing world-class events, will first welcome the Copa América tournament in 2024. This will be followed by the revamped FIFA Club World Cup in 2025, and finally, the highly anticipated FIFA World Cup in 2026, to be co-hosted with Canada and Mexico.


This chain of events was initiated by FIFA's decision to award the 2025 Club World Cup to the United States. The move aligns with FIFA's vision of transforming the Club World Cup into a flagship global club competition. This expanded Club World Cup will not only feature an increased number of teams, moving from seven to thirty-two, but it also promises increased commercial benefits with potential new sponsors and advanced broadcasting opportunities.


Already, heavyweights of European club soccer such as Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Manchester City have secured their places in the tournament, having triumphed in the UEFA Champions League recently. On the American front, the Seattle Sounders have qualified for the tournament by winning the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League, becoming the first MLS side to achieve this feat. It's anticipated that another American team will join them, courtesy of the host nation's privilege.


In financial terms, the 2022 Club World Cup winner, Chelsea, took home a whopping $5 million. However, given the expanded format, the 2025 champion could pocket an even larger amount. Reports suggest that FIFA was considering an investment of $1 billion for launching an expanded Club World Cup initially with 24 teams, and now it's taking shape with 32 teams.


Qualifying for the Club World Cup hinges on winning a champions league competition in one of the five primary confederations: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. The span for qualifying victories is from 2021 to 2024. Teams from Europe, with their deep pockets and unparalleled talent, may enjoy a significant advantage in this tournament. European teams have dominated the last ten editions of the annual Club World Cup, and the new format will see the competition take place every four years.

However, the move has not been without its critics. The International Federation of Professional Footballers and the World Leagues Forum have expressed concerns about the revamped tournament clashing with other soccer fixtures and potentially not providing players enough time for recovery.

The expansion of the Club World Cup to include 32 teams was first proposed in 2016. Originally, the revamped competition was supposed to launch in 2021, but the Covid-19 pandemic put these plans on hold. The most recent iteration of the Club World Cup, with the previous format, was won by Real Madrid against Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal earlier this year.


With the trio of tournaments, the United States is fast becoming a focal point for soccer fans across the globe, marking a significant shift in the popularity and influence of the sport in the country.

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