Gianni Infantino, FIFA
After being reelected as FIFA president in 2023, Gianni Infantino promised record revenues in the next four-year cycle of $11 billion as he called for more soccer to be played around the world Jean Bizimana/File Photo/Via Reuters

SEATTLE - With the Summer of 2025 lurking closer and closer, time is running out for governing bodies to come to an agreement about how the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup is going to take place. The feud between FIFA, FIFPro and the World Leagues Association, bodies in charge of representing players and leagues, continued this week with both sides being less amicable than ever before.

First reported by The Times, both FIFPro and the WLA wrote a joint letter to soccer's governing body expressing their concerns over FIFA's wishes of expanding the international match calendar, arguing that FIFA and its leaders do not care about player welfare and the organization of domestic leagues.

Although the tournament is programmed to be held in the United States next year, key details on how the tournament will take place remain unresolved. Both organizations state that, if FIFA is unable to commit to a resolution, they will inform their members of their options which can include taking legal action.

After discontinuing the Club World Cup's format of a seven-team tournament, FIFA launched the idea of hosting a 32-team World Cup-style event between representatives from all FIFA-associated confederations.

The tournament is set to take place between June 15 and July 13 of 2025. The 32 participants will be divided into eight groups of four teams playing in a single-game round-robin format. Just like the World Cup, a direct single-match knockout stage from the Round of 16 to the final will take place.

In a written response confirmed by The Athletic, FIFA says the accusations made jointly by FIFPro and WLA are "not supported by facts."

"We reject any suggestion or inference that FIFA somehow imposes that International Match Calendar on the football community without adequate consultation or to suit its own 'business strategy'," the letter says.

In addition to the new 32-team Club World Cup, FIFA will also debut the Intercontinental Cup, a tournament comprised the club winners of all six FIFA-affiliated continental tournaments. Details for the Intercontinental Cup have not been released despite FIFA wanting it to debut in 2024.

Soccer's governing body said in the letter that both of these competitions only constitute 2.3% of the matches organized at the club level across a four-year cycle.

With the clock ticking, both parties will need to come to an agreement as soon as possible. Although the WLA has made its concerns about player welfare public, most of the teams that are set to participate in the tournaments have shown their interest in the events.

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