KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- FIFA has confirmed Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Internazionale, Porto and Benfica in the line-up for the first, expanded Club World Cup in the United States in 2025.

A coefficient formula has been created which ensures that some of the world game’s most popular clubs will be lucratively rewarded to attention, television and sponsors to launch its contentious new tournament.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “Clubs play a fundamental role in world football, and the FIFA Club World Cup 2025 will be a major milestone in providing clubs from all confederations with a fitting stage on which to shine at the highest level of the game.

A proud president . . . FIFA’s Gianni Infantino

“This will be an open competition based on sporting merit that will play a key role as part of our efforts to make football truly global.”

The competition, long in gestation, has been criticised in Europe as a FIFA attempt to muscle in on the lucrative elite club sector and impose an unnecessary extra burden on overworked and exploited star players flying busily between clubs and countries.

But this is not all. FIFA is also creating a club Intercontinental Cup between the champions of all the non-European confederations and which will conclude in a playoff against the reigning Champions League holders.

The decision to construct the skeleton of the new Club World Cup was rubber-stamped by FIFA’s governing council in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in the middle of the staging there of the current – largely unloved – Club World Cup.

A coefficient system based on regional international club competitions over the last four years has come up with these initial assessment:

AFRICA – 4 teams:

Via champions pathway (CAF Champions League) – 3 teams

2020-21 and 2022-23: Al Ahly SC (EGY)

2021-22: Wydad AC (MAR)

2023-24: TBC

Via ranking pathway – 1 team to be confirmed.

ASIA – 4 teams:

Via champions pathway (AFC Champions League) – 3 teams

2021: Al Hilal SFC (KSA)

2022: Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN)

2023-24: to be confirmed.

Via ranking pathway – 1 team to be confirmed

EUROPE – 12 teams

Via champions pathway (UEFA Champions League) – 4 teams

2020-21: Chelsea (ENG)

2021-22: Real Madrid (ESP)

2022-23: Manchester City (ENG)

2023-24: to be confirmed

Via ranking pathway – 8 teams

Bayern München (GER)

Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)

Internazionale (ITA)

Porto (POR)

Benfica (POR)

10 to be confirmed

11 to be confirmed

12 to be confirmed


Via champions pathway (Concacaf Champions Cup)

2021: CF Monterrey (MEX)

2022: Seattle Sounders FC (USA)

2023: Club León (MEX)

2024: to be confirmed

OCEANIA – 1 team

Via ranking pathway

Auckland City FC (NZL)

While the 2024 edition of the OFC Champions League remains to be played, of the teams that may potentially participate, there is no mathematical possibility for any to overtake Auckland City FC based on the points gained by that team over the qualification period to date.


Via champions pathway (CONMEBOL Libertadores) – 4 teams

2021: Palmeiras (BRA)

2022: Flamengo (BRA)

2023: Fluminense (BRA)

2024: to be confirmed

Via ranking pathway – 2 teams

to be confirmed

to be confirmed

The final slot is allocated to a club from the host country, with further details being provided in due course.

Tournament dates

The first edition of the tournament will take place from June 15 to July 13, 2025.

FIFA explains: “These dates have been set to ensure that the scheduling of the tournament is harmoniously aligned with the International Match Calendar to allow sufficient time between the tournament final and the start of the season in many domestic leagues globally, and considering that a minimum of three days of rest between matches should be guaranteed in order to safeguard player welfare.”

The format of the competition involves a group stage composed of eight groups of four teams per group playing in a single-game round-robin format with the top two teams per group progressing to the round of 16 and a knockout competition (with no third place play-off).

And another thing . . .

As if all this is not enough, FIFA is also creating an Intercontinental Cup to be played annually from 2024 which should feature all non-European confederation club champions.

The title will be decided by a final at a neutral venue between the UEFA Champions League winners and the winners of an intercontinental play-off between clubs from the other confederations.