The current Club World Cup is like a global edition of England’s [insert sponsor here] League Cup. It’s nice if you win it, but otherwise no one really cares. FIFA, in their ultimate wisdom and endless greed, are never shy about pursuing a money-making scheme when they see one. And boy do they see one in the Club World Cup.
Despite objections from both the Premier League and UEFA, FIFA appear to be going full speed ahead with their idea of expanding the Club World Cup. The current rendition features the winners of each of the 7 confederations, and is held on an annual basis. FIFA wants to make it a rare event, once every 4 years, but expand the qualifying teams to 24, including 12 slots allocated to European Royalty and Manchester City (probably).
And instead of allocating spots based on current merit, most of the European spots appear to be going to teams with Champions League pedigree, including Liverpool. Of the 12 spots, 9 appear to be automatic: Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Inter Milan, and Juventus (all teams with three or more European Cups, plus Juventus on the basis of their two, plus two Intercontinental Cups). Unsurprisingly Manchester City and PSG (with no European Cups between them) are names being floated for two of the last three spots in the competition. Well, those FIFA pockets aren’t going to line themselves.
Participating clubs would take home an eye-watering £50 million minimum, and up to £100 million for winning the competition.
The competition would take place in 2021, presumably in summer. China has emerged as an early front-runner to host, no doubt from the result of a completely transparent and above-the-board bidding process (that we haven’t heard about until now).
Of course, it’s good that Liverpool are included in this list of elites, but it is sickening to think about the footballing rich only getting richer. Moreover, such competitions should be merit-based on current form, not past glories.
If this is a pre-emptive move by FIFA to stave off talk of a “European Super League” I guess it could be a marginally good thing, though it could equally make such a competition more likely, not less.
It also adds yet another big competition to players’ already over-booked calendars. If it comes to fruition, this will mean some of the best players will be potentially playing in a major tournament 3 out of every 4 summers. Go on, FIFA, you know you can make it 4 out of 4. Sure, the football will suck because the players will be dead on their feet, but think about the money!