The Seattle Sounders made history as the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League, and the first MLS side to win a North American continental championship since 2000.
It’s time to look ahead to the next FIFA Club World Cup, with the Sounders earning a berth to that prestigious tournament by virtue of winning the top club competition in the CONCACAF region (North America, Central America and the Caribbean).
Unfortunately, not much is yet known about the next FIFA Club World Cup. COVID-19 scheduling issues caused the 2021 edition to switch locations and forced it to be postponed until February 2022. Since, not much has been released officially by FIFA regarding this year’s tournament.
The Sporting News brings you everything we know so far — and what still has yet to be confirmed — about the next FIFA Club World Cup, and the participation of the Seattle Sounders.
MORE: How the Sounders earned a berth to the FIFA Club World Cup
What is the FIFA Club World Cup?
The FIFA Club World Cup is a global tournament featuring all the continental champions from each region’s most recently completed club tournament.
In recent years, each regional confederation sent one representative, making for six total participants, with a seventh added from the host nation. This made for a star-studded event, with big clubs from Europe, South America, and North America clashing with continental champions from Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
Last year, UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea won the competition, defeating Brazilian side and defending Copa Libertadores (South America) champions Palmeiras in the final.
The format of the next event is expected to be very different. FIFA has decided to expand the tournament from seven teams to 24 teams. The last event was meant to mark the debut of this new expanded format, but due to scheduling complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, FIFA postponed the event to February 2022 and maintained the old seven-team format, pushing expansion to a later date .
Unfortunately, not much more is publicly known at this point, including where the additional teams might come from or how the tournament will be formatted. The Sporting News contacted FIFA for official information on the timing and format, but no word yet from the world governing body.
MORE: CONCACAF Champions League prize money
When is the FIFA Club World Cup?
Similar to the above issue with the expanded format, the date for this year’s tournament has yet to be nailed down, and FIFA has not made a formal announcement regarding the timing of the tournament.
In the past, the tournament has been played in early to mid-December. Obviously, this year that timing will not work with the 2022 FIFA World Cup for men’s national teams taking place from November to December in Qatar. Leagues around the world have built in breaks to accommodate the landmark international soccer event, played for the first time in history in November.
Similarly, leagues will struggle to find further places to create breaks in the schedule, as the World Cup has already created significant fixture congestion around the world.
The Sporting News will update this post when more information is made public.
MORE: Prize money at the last edition of FIFA Club World Cup
Where is the FIFA Club World Cup
To this point, FIFA has not confirmed the location of the next FIFA Club World Cup.
The 2021 edition of the tournament was meant to be held in China with the debut of the new 24-team format. But with COVID-19 scheduling complications, the tournament was moved to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
While it’s speculated that China will play host for the next event, that has not been confirmed, and it could potentially be moved again. The Sporting News will update this information when it’s known.
Who will play in the FIFA Club World Cup?
This is also up in the air. As in previous tournaments, continental champions from the six continental confederations will take part (Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania), but many of those competitions have yet to be concluded.
Beyond that, it’s unknown whether this year’s tournament will also remain as a seven-team event, or if the expanded edition will be finally adopted.
If the tournament is expanded to 24 teams, it’s unclear how the additional qualifiers will be determined. It’s possible that runners-up from each continental competition are asked to participate, although that would seem to water down the allure of reaching the FIFA Club World Cup as champion.
Below are the continental winners expected to take part, whether or not the competition field is ultimately expanded.
|Asia||AFC Champions League||TBD|
|Africa||CAF Champions League||TBD|
|North America||CONCACAF Champions League||Seattle Sounders|
|South America||CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores||TBD|
|Oceania||OFC Champions League||TBD|
|UEFA||UEFA champions league||Liverpool / Real Madrid|
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism