FIFA revealed on Sunday that starting in 2025, the Club World Cup would comprise 32 teams and take place every four years.
Despite criticism of the tournament’s impact on an already crowded football calendar, FIFA’s chief of global football development, Arsene Wenger, stated that the organization’s move to extend the Club World Cup will assist the sport outside of Europe.
The new Intercontinental Cup, which will be played every year and pit the winner of the UEFA Champions League against a team that advances through the intercontinental playoffs, was also unveiled by the governing body.
The World Leagues Forum (WLF) and the global players’ organisation FIFPRO both criticised the announcement for raising player workload and health hazards.
Wenger responded to the criticism by stating that more resources would be available to clubs worldwide as a result of the Club World Cup’s revised format.
The seven-team annual Club World Cup competition will end after the 2023 edition, which is currently being hosted by Saudi Arabia.
“In Europe we are lucky, but it’s important that we make football global and this creates a chance for other clubs to progress, this is the real target,” the former Arsenal manager added.
“It will give more opportunities to more players all over the world to compete at the highest level…
“I accept that the football calendar is a busy one, but this is a competition that is going to take place every four years and of course, the rest period during the competition and afterward has to be respected.”
Wenger also pointed to improvements in medicine in recent years, saying player welfare and injury prevention had “increased dramatically”.
“It is unrecognizable from what it used to be. Also, VAR has helped with the protection of players, as players know they cannot escape from making bad tackles that cause injury,” Wenger said.
“So overall there have been huge improvements on the welfare side, and we want to continue with that progress.”