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FIFA Denies Forcing Club World Cup Schedule

  • May 10, 2024
  • 2 min read
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FIFA Denies Forcing Club World Cup Schedule

FIFA strongly refuted accusations of unilaterally imposing the 2025 Club World Cup schedule on Friday, following threats of legal action from leagues and unions.

In a letter to the World Leagues Association (WLA) and FIFPRO, FIFA’s secretary general, Mattias Grafstrom, emphasized extensive consultation during the development of the new international calendar.

“We categorically reject any suggestion that FIFA ‘imposes’ the International Match Calendar (IMC) without proper consultation or to further its own agenda,” Grafstrom stated in a letter obtained by AFP.

On Thursday, the WLA and FIFPRO, representing international players, jointly urged FIFA to reschedule the 32-team Club World Cup, slated for June 13th to July 15th, 2025. They stated that the global football schedule is already “oversaturated.”

Grafstrom defended FIFA’s right to schedule its competitions, comparing it to other organizers.

“Like any competition organizer,” he said, “FIFA is fully entitled to set the parameters of its events while respecting established regulations.”

He further addressed the issue of domestic leagues scheduling summer competitions, suggesting the WLA members participate in similar practices.

“We recognize that other competition organizers, including those represented by the WLA, also exercise their rights to introduce, modify, or abolish competitions and adjust their formats,” Grafstrom noted.

“For instance, WLA members have introduced international tours in recent years. We would be interested to know if similar concerns and threats of legal action have been directed towards your members or other competition organizers.”

Grafstrom reiterated that FIFA extensively consulted with WLA and FIFPRO on the 2025-2030 international match calendar, confirmed at the FIFA Congress in March 2023.

“Any claims of a lack of consultation are demonstrably false,” he wrote.

He clarified that calendar issues were discussed with FIFPRO and WLA “on multiple occasions” as part of the “Future of Football” discussions in 2021 and 2022.

While expressing disagreement with the “tone and content” of the letter from leagues and unions, Grafstrom proposed a meeting this summer for further discussions.

FIFA’s rationale for the revised format involves reducing the annual eight-club Club World Cup held in December, which caused scheduling difficulties for leagues worldwide.

Additionally, FIFA eliminated the Confederations Cup, a pre-World Cup tournament, which hasn’t been held since 2017 in Russia.

South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns are slated to participate in the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup in the US, potentially competing in seven competitions next season if the tournament proceeds as planned.

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