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FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Image Credit: AP

Al Rayyan: The 2025 Club World Cup will feature 32 teams, making the format similar to the ongoing soccer World Cup, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Friday.

He said the tournament, which currently involves seven teams, would be held every four years and would boost revenues for the global sports body further.

Currently the top teams of every continental competition as well as the hosts’ national champion battle it out for the Club World Cup title.

He said FIFA expected revenues of $11 billion for the four-year period between 2022 and 2026 but that did not include the new club World Cup format in 2025.

$11 billion

“This 11 billion figure is without the club World Cup (in 2025). At the end of the four years we will make even more revenues,” Infantino told a news conference.

The global union for professional football players (FIFPRO) reacted negatively to the decision.

“FIFPRO took note with surprise of today’s decisions by the FIFA Council concerning the international match calendars for men’s and women’s football that could have serious consequences for and aggravate pressure on the welfare and employment of players,” it said in a statement.

“Despite an understanding FIFPRO reached with FIFA last week that a joint negotiation of the international match calendar would take place before the FIFA Congress in March 2023, these decisions were taken unilaterally without seriously consulting, let alone agreeing, with the players.” The World Leagues Forum (WLF), an organisation representing professional association football leagues, also reacted criticised the announcement, saying it could have damaging consequences for the football economy and player welfare.

Fixture congestion

“As the calendar is already overloaded, with longstanding domestic club competitions and ever-expanding international competitions, FIFA’s decision creates the risk of fixture congestion, further player injuries and a distortion of competitive balance,” it said in a statement.

The 2026 World Cup will be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Infantino also said that the 2022 Club World Cup, traditionally held in December but delayed this year due to the ongoing World Cup in Qatar, will be hosted by Morocco between Feb. 1-11 2023.

The decision was taken by the FIFA Council following its meeting on Friday.