Calendar ‘getting to tipping point’ with bigger Club World Cup, Masters warns

<span>Manchester City are the Club World Cup holders and Richard Masters said 115 charges against the club would be resolved ‘in the near future’.</span><span>Photograph: Etsuo Hara/Getty Images</span>
Manchester City are the Club World Cup holders and Richard Masters said 115 charges against the club would be resolved ‘in the near future’.Photograph: Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Richard Masters has criticised Fifa for failing to consult domestic leagues over its plans for an expanded Club World Cup, whose inaugural edition in the United States is set to occupy a month of the 2025 summer break.

As the chief executive of the Premier League reiterated that Manchester City’s 115 charges will be resolved in “the near future”, with hearings set to take place in the autumn, league officials from across Europe came together to issue a warning over an ever-expanding club calendar, with Fifa’s new competition the main target.

“It is getting to a tipping point,” Masters said. “The feedback we have from players is that there is too much football being played and there is constant expansion. The Premier League is 38 rounds, 20 clubs, 180 games, it’s played between August and May, it hasn’t changed shape. What has changed … is the march of international and regional football competitions.

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“When you do change the calendar, it naturally has an impact. Obviously there have been decisions taken recently about a Club World Cup coming in 2025, but there hasn’t really been consultation with the leagues. We’ve worked very well with Uefa. We have a seat on the executive committee, we are working under a memorandum of understanding. The situation at Fifa is very different. There’s a difference between Uefa [where there is consultation] and Fifa, where there is none.”

Masters was speaking at the general assembly of the European Leagues organisation a week after the Premier League struck a deal with the FA to scrap FA Cup replays: an attempt by the top flight to streamline a calendar already set to grow thanks to the expansion of Uefa’s club competitions next season.

The Club World Cup, or Mundial de Clubs Fifa, will run from 15 June-13 July next summer and is seen by European football administrators as a new strike in an attempt to shake up the traditional forms of the game. Set to feature 32 teams, with Manchester City and Chelsea already confirmed as participants, Premier League officials are concerned over the impact a competitive tournament in the summer break will have over the subsequent season.

It is currently scheduled to take place every four years but there are concerns that the frequency of the tournament may also increase. The European Leagues have no formal relationship with Fifa, while the European Club Association (ECA) renewed its memorandum of understanding with the global governing body last year.

Alongside his European colleagues Masters also focused on improving the video assistant referee system. He said he believed English officials were “doing a very good job”, despite the criticism they have recently come under from the league’s own clubs, most recently Nottingham Forest. But he said the video refereeing system “needs to improve. Part of that is getting the rules to be upgraded so there’s more space to communicate with fans.”

On the issue of the unprecedented charges against Manchester City, issued in February 2023 but which are waiting to be heard, Masters said: “The date has been set, and the case will resolve itself [at some] point in the near future. I can’t make any further comments on it.”