Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, has announced significant changes to the global football calendar, including the introduction of a revamped Club World Cup and a new Intercontinental Cup, set to bring a fresh dynamic to international club football.
Expanded Club World Cup and Inaugural Intercontinental Cup
The revamped Club World Cup, scheduled for 2025, will see an expansion to 32 teams and is set to run from June 15 to July 13. This marks a significant change from the current format, aiming to include more teams and provide a broader representation of global football clubs.
The United States has been unanimously chosen to host the first edition of this expanded tournament. Infantino also revealed the plans for a new Intercontinental Cup, which will commence annually starting next year. This tournament will feature the UEFA Champions League winner competing against a team that emerges from intercontinental playoffs.
"The tournament will feature all current confederation premier club competition champions," Infantino stated, adding, "[It] concludes with a final at a neutral venue between the UEFA Champions League winners and the winners of an intercontinental play-off between clubs from the other confederations."These decisions were ratified at a FIFA council meeting held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Concerns Over Player Workload
While these developments are exciting for the sport, they have raised concerns among players about the increasing demands of the football calendar. Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal expressed apprehensions about the additional workload.
"For a top player playing at a top club, the calendar is very demanding," Carvajal said. He suggested that players would be willing to take a pay cut for a reduced workload, emphasizing concerns over the lack of summer breaks and the potential for increased injuries due to the packed schedule.In addition to the Club World Cup and Intercontinental Cup, FIFA also confirmed the hosts for upcoming youth tournaments. Chile will host the Under-20 World Cup in 2025, while Poland will be the venue for the Under-20 Women's World Cup in 2026.