Club World Cup returns to Morocco, set for expansion in 2025

Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca, Morocco

Featured image credit: KSKB1935/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

FIFA has announced that its Club World Cup will return to Morocco next year, while confirming that an expanded version of the tournament has now been set for 2025.

The decisions were made at the FIFA Council meeting in Doha today (Friday), as the 2022 World Cup prepares to conclude in Qatar on Sunday. Morocco, which enjoyed a historic run to the semi-finals of the World Cup, has previously hosted the Club World Cup in 2013 and 2014.

It will now stage the 2022 edition of the tournament from February 1-11 next year. Casablanca’s 67,000-seat Stade Mohammed V is said to be the likely venue for some of the eight matches.

The 2021 Club World Cup was due to take place in Japan, but the Japan Football Association (JFA) decided to forgo its hosting rights to the tournament due to fears over the spread of COVID-19. The JFA made the decision amid concerns that it would struggle to make a profit on the tournament due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in the country. It was eventually relocated to the United Arab Emirates and held from February 3-12 this year.

Expanding the Club World Cup has long been one of the key missions of FIFA president Gianni Infantino. China was due to host the inaugural edition of a revamped tournament in 2021, only for it to be cancelled due to the global pandemic.

The vision at that time was for a 24-team tournament, but FIFA has today said a 32-team event will take place in June 2025, and subsequently be held every four years.

Meanwhile, for the national team game, FIFA detailed plans for a ‘FIFA World Series’ – friendly tournaments which would take place in the March window in even years. The decision on the host(s) for the 2030 World Cup will be made in 2024, with the bid regulations to be published early next year.

For women’s football, the current international match calendar structure will remain unchanged until 2025, with the 2027 and 2031 Women’s World Cup hosts to be decided in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

The creation of a new Women’s Club World Cup, a new Futsal Women’s World Cup and the expansion of the Olympic Games women’s tournament from 12 to 16 teams has also been endorsed.

FIFA said the key strategic principles will be detailed in consultation with the relevant stakeholders in the coming months.