Football

FIFA Club World Cup revamp needs rethinking before it destroys club football

If Liverpool supporters are unhappy with the timing of the FIFA Club World Cup, then fans of teams competing in the soon-to-be revamped competition will be furious with their team’s participation of the tournament in 2021.

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That is the year that FIFA will introduce a revamped version of the FIFA Club World Cup that will expand the tournament from seven teams to 24. The tournament is another attempt by FIFA to cash-in on the popularity and financial revenue UEFA receives from the Champions League.

The UEFA Champions League generates more than €3 billion per season which is more than the FIFA World Cup. FIFA has taken note of the incredible amount of money on offer for the governing body of European football and it wants a cut of it.

The FIFA Club World Cup will be more akin to the UEFA Champions League and last from June through July. The tournament will extend the season for top clubs in European football making the season a true 12-month grind. Clubs including Manchester United, Ajax, and Barcelona have already stated they will not take part in the new version of the tournament.

The current FIFA Club World Cup is little more than a glamour friendly. Yes, winning the trophy in Qatar will be celebrated by Liverpool supporters, but there are four other trophies up for grabs this season that the club may rather win.

As a Liverpool supporter, I’m torn between rather I’d prefer advancing in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night or winning the FIFA Club World Cup. I’d certainly want one of the two big trophies (Premier League and/or Champions League) over silverware in Qatar and prefer the top players from the club from becoming further fatigued or injured.

A Champions League or Premier League trophy will be remembered forever in the world of football. A FIFA Club World Cup trophy will be forgotten. Does anyone remember Real Madrid winning the silverware last season? What about when a Premier League team last played in the FIFA Club World Cup? Chelsea lost the 2012 tournament final in Japan to Corinthians. How many football fans remember that?

FIFA’s plan to stage the tournament in June and July not only runs the risk of the top clubs in Europe boycotting the event (which they should) but influencing them to rethink FIFA’s role in football. In the same way, the top teams in England founded the Premier League, a new governing body of world football could be created.

On the pitch, further matches will cause greater physical risk to players and their health. As we see every season after a major football tournament, top players suffer fitness issues. The added club football matches on top of the domestic leagues, cup competitions and international fixtures will cause greater injuries to star players. In the end, FIFA’s hunger for more money will destroy club football.

The revamped tournament will take place in 2021 in China and fit in between the Euro 2020 tournament and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Despite moving the tournament into June and July putting it at the end of the season for the top European clubs, it doesn’t mean the FIFA Club World Cup will become any more popular.

If the tournament’s popularity cannot be increased with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool, and similar clubs competing in it each winter, its popularity outside of the region most likely won’t grow much more.