FIFA president Gianni Infantino has eyes on expanding the Club World Cup in 2019 to as many as 32 participants.
It sounds like a neat idea to bring more attention to the Club World Cup, traditionally a minor event on the soccer calendar. The premise is to make for a more marketable product that would entice television partners to splurge a little more for the broadcasting rights. Considering the Club World Cup currently fields just seven teams (six continental confederation champions plus the host-nation’s league winner) in December, this would be a dramatic makeover for the tournament.
So this sounds like a pretty neat idea, right? Of course it does. The problem is it adds another relatively significant tournament to the soccer calendar, which leaves even fewer days off for some of the top soccer stars of the world. Many of those stars are already booked playing international games in addition to their own league games and training. And, you know, trying to rest up. It could lead to very watered-down versions of the teams that make the field. And it’s an annual tournament, not every four years like the international World Cup.
That’s a lot of extra soccer.
This would seem to be a good way to expand the reach of one of the more overlooked soccer tournaments. I know I’d be all in on watching something like this, in theory, but who knows how excited an expanded list of some of the top soccer stars around the globe would feel about playing in a tournament that has never been that prestigious.
In any case, between this idea and Infantino’s desire for an expanded World Cup, it’s safe to assume that FIFA’s philosophy continues to be “more is more.”