FIFA is putting the welfare of players at risk with their “short-sighted” plans to introduce a 32-team Club World Cup from 2025, according to FIFPRO.
The football governing body outlined their brief proposals for the new version of the tournament – currently contested annually by seven sides – at a news conference on Friday.
Plans were approved at a FIFA Council meeting earlier in the day to push on with the expanded competition, which will be held once every four years.
FIFA also announced the introduction of a Women’s Club World Cup, while a ‘World Series’ tournament will be held by countries from different continents every other year.
However, the global union for professional football players has hit out at the announcement, claiming there had been no dialogue with FIFA prior to the competitions being ratified.
— FIFPRO (@FIFPRO)
“FIFPRO took note with surprise of today’s decisions by the FIFA Council concerning the international match calendars for men’s and women’s football that could have serious consequences for and aggravate pressure on the welfare and employment of players,” the statement read.
“Despite an understanding FIFPRO reached with FIFA last week that a joint negotiation of the international match calendar would take place before the FIFA Congress in March 2023, these decisions were taken unilaterally without seriously consulting, let alone agreeing, with the players.
“The announcements today of a new format for the Club World Cup as of 2025, new principles for the Men’s and Women’s IMC [international match calendar] post-2024 and 2023 respectively, including the ‘rolling over’ of the current women’s IMC into 2024-25 which will cause severe congestion during the Olympic competition year, have created new conditions, that further increase pressure on player workload and their job.
“Once again, decisions to scale competitions without implementing appropriate safeguards are short-sighted and pay no attention to players’ health and performance.
“This decision once more shows that key stakeholders of the game are not being appropriately involved in decision making of football, even when it concerns the core of their fundamental rights.”
It was confirmed on Friday that Morocco will host the 2023 Club World Cup in February, when European champions Real Madrid will be seeking a record-extending fifth title.