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United States to host expanded 32-team Club World Cup in 2025

The Club World Cup will have 32 teams as from 2025. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

The United States will host a new-look expanded 32-team Club World Cup in 2025, governing body FIFA announced Friday.

The move means the U.S. will host major tournaments for three successive summers, culminating in the 2026 World Cup which will be co-hosted with Mexico and Canada.

In 2024, an expanded Copa America, featuring national teams from South America and the CONCACAF region, will be held in the United States.

The existing Club World Cup, which began in 2000, has struggled to capture global attention and FIFA president Gianni Infantino has long targeted an expansion to bring the top clubs from Europe, South America and the rest of the world into a tournament format.

The most recent edition was held in Morocco in February and featured just seven teams.

“The Club World Cup 2025 will be the pinnacle of elite professional men’s club football, and with the required infrastructure in place together with a massive local interest, the United States is the ideal host to kick off this new, global tournament,” said Infantino. 

While many of the qualification slots remain to be decided, the tournament will feature the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, Brazilian clubs Flamengo and Palmeiras, Mexican team Leon and Seattle Sounders from Major League Soccer.

The dates, host cities and match schedule for the tournament will be established at a later date, FIFA said.

FIFA decided in February that the new competition will feature 12 teams from Europe, six from South America and four representatives each from Asia, Africa and CONCACAF, which includes North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The Oceania region will also be given one slot and the host nation is guaranteed a place in the tournament.

The European participants will include the winners of last five Champions Leagues.

The new tournament will, like the national team World Cup, be held every four years.

The last edition in the smaller format is scheduled to be played in Saudi Arabia in December. 

Teams from South America will qualify through the Copa Libertadores and CONMEBOL’s rankings.

FIFA is setting up operations in the United States with offices in Miami and recently signed an agreement to work jointly with CONCACAF on regional tournaments such as the Gold Cup and Nations League.

FIFA also announced on Friday it was pushing back the decision on the host of the 2030 World Cup from September or October to the second half of next year “to ensure additional consultation with all key stakeholders.”

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