2025 FIFA Club World Cup -- Major U.S. Tournament Coming

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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If I told you that a 32-team tournament, played in world cup qualifying and knockout style, and featuring many of the best players in the world, were coming to the U.S. in two years, would you be surprised?

Traditionally, FIFA has staged a significant tournament in the world cup host country during the summer before the World Cup. It is meant to be a bit of a dry run to test out the venues, work out ticketing and transportation, and otherwise iron out any kinks to ensure that their marquee event comes off well the following year. For a few cycles, it was a tournament called the "Confederations Cup," in which one team from each of the world wide federations would advance and play a mini-tournament, with two groups and knockouts. Qualification was based on the winner of each confederation's championship in the off-cycle years. For CONCACAF, it was the gold cup. The U.S.A. played in a few, and even had one of their most famous wins in South Africa against Spain.

Anyway, Qatar fucked it all up. A summer tournament was not in the cards. And so the confederations cup went away, which was really too bad. I always looked forward to it. It was a neat little tournament that got you fired up for the world cup.

FIFA has now moved on to a club competition -- so instead of international teams playing, FIFA has created a championship for the best club teams in the world. Think Champions League, but not just for UEFA (although obviously, Europe clubs will feature heavily.) This has been an idea that has had some trouble getting off the ground, even though the tournament has bee played in various forms for many years. It's hard to get clubs to commit to taking a summer competition seriously, though now that many of the big clubs do all sorts of tours and other stuff in the summers, it is picking up a bit of steam. There is actually a 2023 club world cup -- it will be 8 clubs contested in Saudi Arabia in December, as what is no doubt a showcase designed to secure the 2030 world cup. Seven of the 8 teams have qualified -- only CONMEBOL has yet to complete their Copa Libertadores. Citeh, as the Champions League champs, will play for Europe. Al-Ittihad -- the Saudi club featuring Benzema -- will play for AFC. Leon is the CONCACAF representative.

2025, however, will be a much more elaborate affair. 32 clubs will qualify, and will play in a full pre-2026 world cup format. 8 groups of 4, round robin, 2 from each group advance, and then 15 knockout games. The number of slots is set based on confederation ranking. UEFA gets 12 teams, CONMEBOL gets 6, CONCACAF, CAF, and AFC get 4. OFC gets 1. And then the host gets 1. Qualification is based on who wins each confederation's club championship in the 4 years prior to the event, and then various ranking schemes if a team wins more than 1. For CONMEBOL and UEFA, the remaining slots are filled using various rankings. The Sounders are eligible, having won the 2022 CONCACAF champions league. The last three UEFA CL winners -- Chelsea, Real Madrid and City have qualified, as have the two Brazilian sides that have won the Copa Liberatores (Palmeiras and Flamengo).

You can keep up with qualification if interested on wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2025_FIFA_Club_World_Cup

I don't think it has been announced yet how the host spot for a USA team will be decided. Maybe the 2024 MLS champ? It's FIFA so if there's any opportunity to get Messi in there, I suppose they will try, which actually would be cool.

I am unreasonably excited about this tournament. I think tickets will be a little bit easier than the world cup. It's 39 games (or maybe 40 if there's a consolation game) in the U.S.A. at the stadiums that will be hosting the world cup the next year. If players take it seriously, we'll get to see some amazing teams. It will probably turn out to be a Europe and South America knockout, but there is going to be some excellent soccer played. I'm already thinking about how to manage my 2025 vacation time.

Here's the FIFA page. https://www.fifa.com/fifaplus/en/articles/fifa-club-world-cup-2025-dates-format-and-qualifiers

FIFA usually sells tickets by having a lottery before the draw is announced, so you're just buying tickets based on venue and date. And then after the draw and the schedule comes out, they have another sale. Not sure if this will work the same way. I don't think 80,000 tickets in Houston or whatever are going to be sold for Wydad and Al-Hilal, so tickets should be pretty easy to get. The big England sides though will probably sell out.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Mar 24, 2008
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If I told you that a 32-team tournament, played in world cup qualifying and knockout style, and featuring many of the best players in the world, were coming to the U.S. in two years, would you be surprised?

Traditionally, FIFA has staged a significant tournament in the world cup host country during the summer before the World Cup. It is meant to be a bit of a dry run to test out the venues, work out ticketing and transportation, and otherwise iron out any kinks to ensure that their marquee event comes off well the following year. For a few cycles, it was a tournament called the "Confederations Cup," in which one team from each of the world wide federations would advance and play a mini-tournament, with two groups and knockouts. Qualification was based on the winner of each confederation's championship in the off-cycle years. For CONCACAF, it was the gold cup. The U.S.A. played in a few, and even had one of their most famous wins in South Africa against Spain.

Anyway, Qatar fucked it all up. A summer tournament was not in the cards. And so the confederations cup went away, which was really too bad. I always looked forward to it. It was a neat little tournament that got you fired up for the world cup.

FIFA has now moved on to a club competition -- so instead of international teams playing, FIFA has created a championship for the best club teams in the world. Think Champions League, but not just for UEFA (although obviously, Europe clubs will feature heavily.) This has been an idea that has had some trouble getting off the ground, even though the tournament has bee played in various forms for many years. It's hard to get clubs to commit to taking a summer competition seriously, though now that many of the big clubs do all sorts of tours and other stuff in the summers, it is picking up a bit of steam. There is actually a 2023 club world cup -- it will be 8 clubs contested in Saudi Arabia in December, as what is no doubt a showcase designed to secure the 2030 world cup. Seven of the 8 teams have qualified -- only CONMEBOL has yet to complete their Copa Libertadores. Citeh, as the Champions League champs, will play for Europe. Al-Ittihad -- the Saudi club featuring Benzema -- will play for AFC. Leon is the CONCACAF representative.

2025, however, will be a much more elaborate affair. 32 clubs will qualify, and will play in a full pre-2026 world cup format. 8 groups of 4, round robin, 2 from each group advance, and then 15 knockout games. The number of slots is set based on confederation ranking. UEFA gets 12 teams, CONMEBOL gets 6, CONCACAF, CAF, and AFC get 4. OFC gets 1. And then the host gets 1. Qualification is based on who wins each confederation's club championship in the 4 years prior to the event, and then various ranking schemes if a team wins more than 1. For CONMEBOL and UEFA, the remaining slots are filled using various rankings. The Sounders are eligible, having won the 2022 CONCACAF champions league. The last three UEFA CL winners -- Chelsea, Real Madrid and City have qualified, as have the two Brazilian sides that have won the Copa Liberatores (Palmeiras and Flamengo).

You can keep up with qualification if interested on wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2025_FIFA_Club_World_Cup

I don't think it has been announced yet how the host spot for a USA team will be decided. Maybe the 2024 MLS champ? It's FIFA so if there's any opportunity to get Messi in there, I suppose they will try, which actually would be cool.

I am unreasonably excited about this tournament. I think tickets will be a little bit easier than the world cup. It's 39 games (or maybe 40 if there's a consolation game) in the U.S.A. at the stadiums that will be hosting the world cup the next year. If players take it seriously, we'll get to see some amazing teams. It will probably turn out to be a Europe and South America knockout, but there is going to be some excellent soccer played. I'm already thinking about how to manage my 2025 vacation time.

Here's the FIFA page. https://www.fifa.com/fifaplus/en/articles/fifa-club-world-cup-2025-dates-format-and-qualifiers

FIFA usually sells tickets by having a lottery before the draw is announced, so you're just buying tickets based on venue and date. And then after the draw and the schedule comes out, they have another sale. Not sure if this will work the same way. I don't think 80,000 tickets in Houston or whatever are going to be sold for Wydad and Al-Hilal, so tickets should be pretty easy to get. The big England sides though will probably sell out.
Do we actually think this is going to be played by star players or is this going to look like the teams that PL teams field when they're doing a pre-season tour in the US?
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Do we actually think this is going to be played by star players or is this going to look like the teams that PL teams field when they're doing a pre-season tour in the US?
If it's anything like the Club World Cup has previously been, probably in between. The Euro teams traditionally feel no particular prestige in winning the CWC but don't want to lose it, and their lineups reflect that. I'd expect closer to the preseason tournament side of the spectrum for the group stages for them ratcheting up to closer to full strength by the knockouts. The other teams generally give it closer to their all.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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It will be interesting to see how seriously the European clubs take this tournament, which will come at the end of a long season and will basically mean that players go three straight summers without an extended break with the Euros the year beforehand and the World Cup the year after. Do you know how the revenue generated from the tournament is going to be distributed?

It looks like the other nine UEFA teams will be determined based on four year club coefficient, assumedly over the 21-22, 22-22, 23-24, and 24-25 seasons (and obviously anybody else winning the CL the next two years is in, which would reduce the number of club coefficient qualifiers).

Point leaders as of the 21-22 and 22-23 seasons:

Bayern - 53
Liverpool - 52
West Ham - 50
Inter - 47
Roma - 45
Benfica - 45
Frankfurt - 44
Feyenoord - 41
PSG - 38
United - 37
Juventus - 37
Villarreal - 36
RBL - 35

One of the features of the club coefficient is that its possible to run up a ton of points in the Europa League and Conference League competitions, especially if you take them more seriously than your league campaign. Things can change a lot over the next couple years but you may end up with a good number of those kinds of clubs (ie, Roma, West Ham, Eintracht Frankfurt, Feyenoord) in the mix.
 

swiftaw

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However, the previous Club World Cups were in the middle of the Euro season (December/anuary) so players were in mid-season fitness. Plus, Euro teams only had to play 2 matches to win it, now it'll take 7 and be during the Euro offseason. I see lots of Euro teams not caring about it.
 

swiftaw

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(and obviously anybody else winning the CL the next two years is in, which would reduce the number of club coefficient qualifiers)
Actually not true, only next season's CL winner (23/24) is in, the 24/25 winner will be in the next one, since they wont be known till June 25, a few weeks before the tournament starts.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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FIFA usually sells tickets by having a lottery before the draw is announced, so you're just buying tickets based on venue and date. And then after the draw and the schedule comes out, they have another sale. Not sure if this will work the same way. I don't think 80,000 tickets in Houston or whatever are going to be sold for Wydad and Al-Hilal, so tickets should be pretty easy to get. The big England sides though will probably sell out.
Interesting. Sounds a lot like the new NBA tournament! :)

Have they picked the locations for this yet? I didn't see it on the FIFA link you provided.

Thanks for posting.
 

InstaFace

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Do we know whether they will scrap the annual CWC that happens in December / January, once this launches?

As DDB noted, there is one this coming December in KSA, in the "traditional" 7-team format, with the 2022 edition happening (for FIFA purposes) in Feb 2023 in Morocco. Since its revival in 2005 (with heavy Toyota sponsorship), Japan has hosted 8 times, UAE 5 times, Morocco 3, and Qatar 2 (in 2019 and 2020 in preparation for their WC). Of those 18 times, a Brazilian club won the first 2 in 2005 and 2006, and then again in 2012 (Corinthians beating Chelsea), and otherwise the lone UEFA entrant has won it every time. But they're moderately interesting mini-tournaments that put together teams who may never play again, so I hope they don't go away and get replaced by an every-4-years thing.

All wikipedia says is, "On 23 June 2023, FIFA confirmed that the United States will host the 2025 tournament as a prelude to the 2026 FIFA World Cup... The FIFA Council also unanimously approved the concept of an annual club competition from 2024, in response to the fact that the FIFA Club World Cup will be held for the last time in its current guise in 2023."
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Actually not true, only next season's CL winner (23/24) is in, the 24/25 winner will be in the next one, since they wont be known till June 25, a few weeks before the tournament starts.
Interesting. What about coefficient points from the 24-25 season? Do those count in the four year calculation? Most will be known but for a few clubs the details won't be settled until the European finals and it potentially could make a difference in qualification for clubs on the bubble (unlikely but possible).
 

ThePrideofShiner

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The Seattle Sounders have already qualified for the 2025 tournament and according to this link, one other MLS team is guaranteed a spot.

As winners of last year's Concacaf Champions League, the Seattle Sounders will have one of Concacaf’s four spots designated for 2025. An additional spot is given to the host nation, theoretically guaranteeing at least one more MLS team will participate in the competition.
https://www.mlssoccer.com/news/united-states-named-host-of-expanded-2025-fifa-club-world-cup
 

swiftaw

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Interesting. What about coefficient points from the 24-25 season? Do those count in the four year calculation? Most will be known but for a few clubs the details won't be settled until the European finals and it potentially could make a difference in qualification for clubs on the bubble (unlikely but possible).
My guess is that its the 4 years ending in summer 2024, so 2020-2021, 2021-2022, 2022-2023, 2023-2024 since those are the 4 years that produce the automatic qualifiers.

On a a further note, for the group draw I would presume its no more than 1 team per confederation per group, except for UEFA which can have 2 teams in a group.
 

swiftaw

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Don't UCL champs automatically get a semis slot? So they skip until December? This summer section is just the qualifiers to get to the knockout stage in the winter right?
No, the entire tournament is moving to summer every 4 years, rather than annually in December. Basically it will be exactly the same format as the 32 team World Cup has been for the past 20 years, 4 groups of 8, top 2 qualify, then 4 knock out rounds, all in June/July. So it's 7 matches to win it, regardless of the team.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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It will be interesting to see how seriously the European clubs take this tournament, which will come at the end of a long season and will basically mean that players go three straight summers without an extended break with the Euros the year beforehand and the World Cup the year after. Do you know how the revenue generated from the tournament is going to be distributed?
I'm unreasonably optimistic that it will be a good event. I think FIFA is really going to put a fair amount into it, and the fact that it is in the states in good venues in which some of these players hope to be playing the next summer might give it a little extra juice. As I said, my optimism is probably unreasonable.

I think you're asking the right question -- money. That will matter. If it can be sold for good tv money, then I think teams will be engaged.

My guess is that the venues are going to be a subset of the 11 world cup venues. Maybe 8 of them? They could probably even do all 11 if they wanted to. Summer is a good time for getting NFL stadiums. The only reason I could see them doing it in other venues is if they are thinking the stadiums might be half full. That wouldn't be a good luck and so maybe they'd use some MLS soccer specific stadiums.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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My guess is that its the 4 years ending in summer 2024, so 2020-2021, 2021-2022, 2022-2023, 2023-2024 since those are the 4 years that produce the automatic qualifiers.

On a a further note, for the group draw I would presume its no more than 1 team per confederation per group, except for UEFA which can have 2 teams in a group.
Yep, that would be my guess too. The slots allotted per confederation are actually pretty close to the number of slots that were available in Qatar by confederation, so I bet the draw procedures will be similar. Maybe even close to identical.
 

67YAZ

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Infantino had been trying to roll this out since 2017 with the first expanded Cup to be held in China in 2021. That hit some internal politics as well as COVID, so things were pushed back to 2025.

I don't expect money to be an issue. Saudi funds were sent through SoftBank to underwrite this event. It was one of MBS's first efforts to woo FIFA and, if the TV rights do sell for what's expected, prove to be very profitable. But enough money has already been invested to get UEFA support and motivate the mega-clubs to go deeper into the tournament (it could be a nice revenue bump under fair play rules, to the extent those still matter). More sponsorship and broadcast deals might top up the current funds being offered to participating clubs, but most of those dollars will either go to SoftBank/Saudis to repay the investment and distributed to FIFA members, which is how Infantino builds his support.
 

the1andonly3003

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No, the entire tournament is moving to summer every 4 years, rather than annually in December. Basically it will be exactly the same format as the 32 team World Cup has been for the past 20 years, 4 groups of 8, top 2 qualify, then 4 knock out rounds, all in June/July. So it's 7 matches to win it, regardless of the team.
I'd think the transfer window might cause issues for a few of the teams