FIFPRO starts legal action against FIFA over 2025 Club World Cup

FIFA has been sued by FIFPRO’S European member unions as they aim to block the revamped Club World Cup in 2025.

The expanded men’s Club World Cup, set to feature 32 teams, is at the centre of the controversy as players’ unions challenge FIFA’s crowning club tournament. FIFPRO, the International Federation of Professional Footballers, represents players worldwide and has long been an advocate for their rights. The union’s European member branches, particularly the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) in England and the Union Nationale des Footballeurs Professionnels (UNFP) in France, spearheaded the legal claim submitted to the Brussels Court of Commerce. The claim underscores the unions’ dissatisfaction with FIFA’s unilateral scheduling decisions, which they argue compromise players’ rights and well-being.

The dispute stems from FIFA’s decision to host the expanded Club World Cup in the United States from June 15 to July 13, 2025. This decision, announced in May, was met with an immediate backlash from both FIFPRO and the World Leagues Association (WLA), who threatened legal action if FIFA did not reconsider rescheduling the tournament. Despite these warnings, FIFA has remained firm on its stance which has forced the body to pursue legal action.

FIFPRO’s central argument is that the new tournament schedule imposes excessive demands on players, leaving them with little to no rest between seasons. According to Maheta Molango, PFA’s chief executive, “The fixture calendar is broken to the point that it has now become unworkable.”

Whereas, David Terrier, President of FIFPRO Europe, said: “Since all attempts at dialogue have failed, it is now up to us to ensure that the fundamental rights of players are fully respected by taking the matter to the European courts and thus to the ECJ. It’s not a question of stigmatising a particular competition, but of denouncing both the underlying problem and the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

The 2024-25 season is expected to merge almost seamlessly into the 2025-26 season, exacerbating the situation. The Premier League is set to conclude on May 25, 2025, followed by the Champions League final on May 31. An international window is then slated for June 2-10, with the Club World Cup commencing just four days later, on June 14. This intense scheduling leaves players with minimal recovery time before the Premier League kicks off again in mid-August. Such a tight turnaround is not unprecedented; similar scheduling pressures were observed this summer – with Euro 2024, Copa America 2024, and the Olympics scheduled – illustrating the persistent problem.

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