FIFA planning on expanded 24-team Club World Cup in 2021

Real Madrid Club World Cup 2017

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has confirmed that FIFA has approved an expanded 24-team Club World Cup, which is set to begin in 2021. 

The tournament will replace the current edition of the Club World Cup, which features seven teams from six confederations and takes place in December. 

Instead, the FIFA council has approved a revamped summer version of the CWC, which is set to replace the Confederations Cup on the calendar. 

The tournament will take place every four years, and Infantino spoke glowingly of its possible impact at a press conference in Miami on Friday.

"From now the world will see a real Club World Cup where the best teams will compete to crown the club world champion," Infantino said. 

"This is important today because of course club football is evolving. It's moving at a different pace in different parts of the world and it is our duty and our responsibility to make sure that we encourage professional club football all over the world.

"We want to have an exciting competition, we want to have a prestigious competition, we want to have an inclusive competition for clubs and we will have this through the new Club World Cup starting in 2021, so I'm very very happy that this decision has been taken."

Despite Infantino's excitement, several European clubs have expressed their opposition to the expanded competition. 

“[We are] firmly against any potential approval of a revised CWC - no ECA clubs would take part," a letter from the European Club Association said, according to BBC Sport.

“We wish to restate the position of ECA: (a) ECA is unwilling to consider any new or significantly revised competition prior to a holistic assessment of the IMC (international match calendar) post-2024 being conducted and an agreement as to its underlying principles being reached; and (b) in any event, a Club World Cup in June 2021, as proposed by FIFA, is not acceptable in light of the existing competitions and the IMC, which is fixed until 2024.”

UEFA is concerned that the expanded CWC could infringe upon the Champions League, but Infantino expressed optimism that FIFA and UEFA could come to an agreement. 

"There have been some very positive discussions lately with the UEFA president, with UEFA – constructive dialogue even though of course there are lots of different points of view but we are moving forward," Infantino said.

"We have the responsibility to take decisions for FIFA and we took the decision. I'm sure that in the next few weeks even the discussions with UEFA will bear some positive fruits."