FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives a press conference Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha on December 16, 2022, during the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)
Morocco will host the next Club World Cup in February, FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced on Friday, while the planned expanded version of the competition is now set to start in 2025.
The tournament will take place from February 1 to 11, 2023, Infantino told reporters at a press conference in Doha, as it returns to Morocco for the third time.
An expanded Club World Cup has long been a pet project of Infantino’s. A 24-team event, featuring eight teams from Europe, had been due to take place in China in 2021 only to be put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Infantino said the new-look tournament would now go ahead starting in 2025 and would feature 32 teams.
“We had agreed a few years ago to have a new 24-team men’s Club World Cup. It should have taken place in 2021 but was postponed because of Covid,” the FIFA president said.
“The new competition will take place in 2025 and will feature 32 teams, making it really like a World Cup,” he added, without offering further details.
Morocco hosted the Club World Cup in 2013 and again in 2014, while the most recent edition was held in the United Arab Emirates in February, with Chelsea lifting the trophy.
The competition is set to continue in its existing format for now, featuring the champions of the six continental federations along with the top team from the host nation.
Real Madrid, who won the 2014 Club World Cup in Morocco, will represent Europe after winning last season’s UEFA Champions League.
Flamengo of Brazil, Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, Seattle Sounders from the United States and New Zealand’s Auckland City are the other current continental champions.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.