FIFA Club World Cup to replace Confederations Cup in 2021

The revised tournament will have 24 teams and will be played in June-July.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced the new Club World Cup will replace the Confederations Cup in 2021.   -  Getty Images

FIFA Council has approved a revamped Club World Cup in 2021, despite opposition from UEFA members and European clubs.

The revised tournament will have 24 teams and will be played in June-July. It rules out the possibility of the tournament taking place in Qatar, because of hot summers in the middle-eastern country. The current version of the tournament features seven teams and is played in December.

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"The Council has taken the decision to start, in 2021, a new FIFA Club World Cup in the slot of the Confederations Cup. From now the world will see a real Club World Cup where the best teams in the world compete," said FIFA president Gianni Infantino at a FIFA Council meeting in Miami. "We want to have an exciting, prestigious and inclusive competition and we will have this with the new Club World Cup," he said.

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The dates will be decided after consultation with UEFA, Infantino said.

Clubs threaten to boycott new Club World Cup

Top European clubs said Friday they will boycott the planned 24-team Club World Cup in 2021, dealing a blow to Infantino's overhaul of the competition.

In a statement released shortly before FIFA's ruling council greenlighted the new tournament at a meeting in Miami, the European Club Association (ECA) said its members would not participate.

“ECA clubs will not participate in the Club World Cup in 2021 and will assess participation in the Club World Cup in 2024,” an ECA spokesman told AFP.

A 17-page report distributed to the 37 members of FIFA's ruling body calls for the new tournament to take place between June 17 and July 4, 2021, replacing the Confederations Cup international tournament. But the ECA has argued against the plans despite FIFA President Infantino pushing strongly for the new-look competition.

Any boycott by European clubs would instantly diminish the viability of the competition. A report distributed to FIFA Council members this week said five of the six regional confederations are in favour of the proposal for the tournament.

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However European governing body UEFA, which accuses FIFA of a lack of consultation and transparency over the project, has opposed plans moving forward, citing scheduling problems. UEFA had earlier lobbied for 12 clubs to take part in any new tournament. However under the proposal tabled at Friday's meeting in Miami, Europe would have only eight slots.

South America will have six qualified clubs, while Africa, Asia, North and Central America will each have three teams. One team will represent the Oceania region.

The issue of a revamped Club World Cup has been simmering for the past year after it emerged that a tournament bankrolled by investors from Asia and the Middle East had been offered to FIFA. That funding offer, reportedly worth $25 billion, was later withdrawn.

(with inputs from AFP)

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