Fears Premier League ‘could be reduced to 18 TEAMS amid FIFA’s plans to restrict global top-flights to ease Club World Cup congestion – as stars threaten strikes’

  • An expanded 32-team FIFA Club World Cup will be held in the US next summer
  • Clubs fear the Premier League will be reduced to combat fixture congestion 
  •  Sunday league, grassroots, pub football… how Pep’s influence has trickled down the pyramid – Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off podcast

There are reportedly fears that FIFA want to impose 18-team leagues around the world, including the Premier League, due to the expansion of the Club World Cup. 

The governing body – headed by president Gianni Infantino – announced plans to hold a 32-team tournament in the US next summer to determine the best club side in the world, with the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Chelsea all due to take part.

However, clubs across Europe’s top leagues have major concerns about the toll this will take on players, something Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta recently pointed out. 

According to The Sun, clubs are worried that FIFA will try to combat this issue by reducing the number of teams in every league to 18, meaning each club would play 34 games instead of 38. 

One source said: ‘We all think that this is the ultimate aim from FIFA, to find a way of making us drop to 18.

There are reportedly fears that FIFA want to impose 18-team leagues around the world

An 18-team Premier League would mean each club plays 34 games instead of the usual 38

An 18-team Premier League would mean each club plays 34 games instead of the usual 38 

‘What you can put your money on is the working group saying there is too much domestic football, that we should all go down from 20 clubs to 18 and that the least impact on players comes from international matches.

‘We wouldn’t be shocked if they have already written their conclusions.’

It comes after FIFA were threatened with legal action by player unions and world leagues if it does not move the expanded 2025 Club World Cup. 

Premier League and LaLiga chiefs have also have threatened to pull their teams out unless the revamped competition is rescheduled 

Last month Premier League chief executive Richard Masters declared that football is at a ‘tipping point’ with players being asked to play more games than ever before.

‘It stands to reason if you overload the calendar and the players, at some point, something has to give,’ said Masters.

PFA chief executive Richard Masters has major concerns over the expanded Club World Cup

LaLiga chief Javier Tebas is also unhappy with the new competition

Richard Masters (left) and Javier Tebas (right) have concerns over the newly-expanded Club World Cup and are reportedly threatening to boycott the tournament altogether

‘It is getting to a tipping point. The feedback we have from players is that there is too much football being played and there is constant expansion.’

The Club World Cup will run from June 15 to July 13 2025 and take away some clubs’ chance of recuperating in the off-season and preparing for the new Premier League campaign. 

If FIFA enforce the rule, the Bundesliga, Portuguese league, Belgian league among others will be unaffected as they already have 18 or less teams competing in their respective leagues. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk