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FIFA confirm dates, rules, format for month-long 2025 Club World Cup

No rest for the weary

Luton Town v Chelsea: The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

The 2023 FIFA Club World Cup is currently underway in Saudi Arabia. It’s the last time the tournament is held in its current guise, with FIFA moving to the expanded 32-team (32!) version for 2025. Just don’t call it the FIFA Super League.

As we learned earlier this year, the new format will include not just the most recent continental competition winners (and a few other invited teams), but the winners of the previous four editions, plus a whole host of other teams based on their continental rankings.

This means that for Chelsea, we get to double-dip with our 2021 Champions League trophy, joining Real Madrid, Manchester City, and whoever wins it this season (and if it’s either of those two, then another at-large bid for a UEFA team will open up). The rest of the European representatives (for a total of 12) will be decided by a somewhat convoluted points-based ranking, with five of the eight sports already confirmed as going to Bayern Munich, PSG, Inter Milan, Porto, and Benfica. (If one of those wins the Champions League this season, then their at-large spot will go to the next team up.)

Most of this is old information, but FIFA have now confirmed the exact dates for this competition, which will run for entire month (!) in the summer of 2025, from June 15 to July 13, with the USA hosting. It’ll be practically another World Cup, except for club teams instead of national teams (exactly as the name might imply). The FIFA Confederations Cup, which used to run during these pre-World Cup summers in previous years, was last held in 2017 and was subsequently canceled in 2019.

Other already-qualified teams (so 20 of the 32 already set) include: Al Ahly, Wydad Casablanca, Al Hilal, Urawa Red Diamonds, CF Monterrey, Seattle Sounders, Club León, Auckland City, Palmeiras, Flamengo, and Fluminense. Quite the field indeed, with 12 more still to come!

The tournament will have a classic look to it with the 32 qualifiers divided into 8 groups of four (presumably with the various federations spread out as much as possible), and then the top two from each group qualifying for the single-elimination knockout rounds. The USA have not confirmed any host cities yet for this tournament.

As much as the added wear and tear on the players will not be welcome — we’ll barely have a month off between this and the start of the 2025-26 Premier League season — FIFA will (reportedly) give around €50m to each participating club and double that to the winners, so it’s unlikely that any team would refuse their invitation.

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