As it stands, the Club World Cup is held once a year during the regular season, with the previous season’s UEFA Champions League winner competing against other continental champions for the title of world champion.
Rob Harris reports details of the origin of the entrants for the event:
- 12 European teams
- 6 South American teams
- 4 African teams
- 4 Asian teams
- 4 CONCACAF teams
- 1 Oceania team
- 1 team from the tournament host
In total, that’s 32 teams, so the new event could potentially maintain the knockout format of the old tournament. Alternatively, given the cup is now taking place during the summer break, it’s not impossible FIFA might look to have a group stage.
It’s not yet known how teams will be selected for the event. As mentioned, the previous format took the Champions League winners, but that’s only one team, not 12.
The competition could look to take each of the winners from the previous four years, but that would still only be four teams at most.
If the same team won the Champions League multiple times, it would be even fewer.
So there will be other entrants, whether they’re the winners of the Europa League and Europa Conference League, Champions League finalists and semi-finalists, the teams with the best UEFA coefficient, or otherwise.
The positive angle on the change is that the Club World Cup will no longer take place during the Premier League campaign, and it will only be once every four years, so that should lessen the disruption it causes.
On the other hand, if you’re a player from a top-performing club and country, you may end up playing football every summer for years on end.
With the Euros in 2024, the new Club World Cup in 2025, and the World Cup in 2026, many players will go for four years before their next summer off.