FIFA awarded Morocco on Friday the hosting rights for the upcoming Club World Cup, which will take place in February and grow to 32 teams in 2025.
From February 1 through 11, the usual seven-team competition will feature Real Madrid, the European champion, Flamengo, the South American champion, and Seattle Sounders, the first American team to win the CONCACAF Champions League.
Following Morocco’s remarkable journey to the World Cup semifinals in Qatar, FIFA’s governing council announced that nation would now host the following major soccer competition in six weeks.
One of the final seven-team editions for continental champions will take place in 2025, when an enlarged, month-long competition will begin.
Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, stated that the goal of the move was to “make it genuinely resemble a World Cup.”
In the 10-day competition, which includes continental champions from each of the six soccer confederations in the world, Casablanca will host games with the city slated to offer two teams.
Last year, Wydad won both the Moroccan league and the Champions League for Africa. The spot that FIFA reserves for the domestic champion of the host nation should go to Raja, who finished second in the league. Both teams have their headquarters in Casablanca, where some of the eight Club World Cup matches are likely to be played in the 67,000-seat Stade Mohammed V.
Additionally, Morocco hosted the Club World Cups in 2013 and 2014, which were triumphed by Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, respectively.
Since the Club World Cup was reinstated in 2005 under the current format, only European and South American sides have claimed victory.
FIFA has long wanted to launch an expanded version with 24 or 32 teams in a tournament played in June.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of a planned debut round in China in 2021, even though no tournament format had been decided upon and no broadcasters or sponsors had been confirmed.
After the ruling council approved the idea on Friday, Infantino announced that a 2025 debut is now anticipated and pledged to initiate talks with stakeholders in the sport.
It might take place in America and act as a trial run for the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
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