Real Madrid have just celebrated winning their third FIFA Club World Cup title after they beat Brazilian side Gremio 1-0 in Abu Dhabi on December 16th. But what is the future of the FIFA Club World Cup?
The Future of the FIFA Club World Cup
Apathy in England
Take England as an example and the event is mostly remembered for Manchester United sacrificing their place in the historic FA Cup to take part. That negativity remains, judging by the profile it commands in the home of the Premier League. This is not the case in South America, as many Gremio fans travelled to the UAE and many more in Brazil would follow their attempt to emulate their Porte Alegre rivals Internacional and claim a maiden title.
That hope floundered as the Brazilians, though only conceding to a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick, never looked like winning. Thus, Real Madrid continued the recent dominance of European teams in the competition. Mix in the unbalanced nature of the fixtures and you see why fans tend to vote with their feet. Despite low ticket prices, crowds as low as 4,000 watched some of the matches. But how could Auckland City attract fans like Real Madrid?
Location and Weather
The tournament will return to the UAE next December. In many ways, the location works. It is centrally located for a global event and the weather is perfect for the time of year. The stadiums and the organisation seemed fine. But those local fans will only come out to see the global stars.
Future of the Competition
There is no easy solution. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has mentioned a revised, expanded, format. Some traditionalists might prefer a reversion to the old two-legged Intercontinental Cup. That produced too many notorious encounters, though. More clubs, more games, and hence more revenue, seems inevitable. How that might work for the influential European clubs is far from certain. So we will have to wait and see what Infantino produces.