FIFA’s new Club World Cup, which will be held in the United States in 2025, could “overlap” with CONCACAF Gold Cup being held in the same country, CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani said on Friday.
Montagliani, who is also a FIFA vice-president, told AFP in an interview that talks were already under way between the two bodies to avoid clashes of kick-off times and other potential headaches.
FIFA announced last month that their new-look, expanded 32-team Club World Cup would debut in the United States in 2025.
The Gold Cup, which is held every two years and has it’s final on Sunday in Los Angeles, features national teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean.
“We’ve already entered into discussions with FIFA, with both our competition teams, to ensure that there’s a synergy between a calendar, routing of stadiums and kick-off times so that it’s a win-win for each event, but also a win-win for the fans,” Montagliani said.
“There could be an overlap. It won’t be identical (times), but there could be an overlap, as has happened in the past between other tournaments. But I think an overlap is fine,” added the Canadian head of the regional governing body.
Venues are unlikely to be a problem for either tournament with a number of NFL stadiums already in regular use for international games along with MLS grounds.
The time difference between East Coast and West Coast could also help ease the conflict between the two tournaments, although their could yet be issues around player availability.
Montagliani said that off-days for each tournament allows some leeway.
“You might have some overlaps in the group stage. (We have to) make sure our kickoff times are coordinated. If you do it right, it’ll work. It’s up to us and FIFA to make sure it works and our teams work well together and I have no issues. We’re in those discussions already,” he said.
While many of the qualification slots remain to be decided, the Club World Cup will feature the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, Brazilian clubs Flamengo and Palmeiras, Mexican team Leon and Seattle Sounders from Major League Soccer.
FIFA decided in February that the new competition will feature 12 teams from Europe, six from South America and four representatives each from Asia, Africa and CONCACAF.
FIFA is setting up operations in the United States with offices in Miami and recently signed an agreement to work jointly with CONCACAF on regional tournaments such as the Gold Cup and Nations League.
No second strings
This year’s Gold Cup saw the United States, Canada and Mexico feature largely second string teams choosing to play their strongest line-ups in the Nations League final four held last month.
But Montagliani said that the unique schedule, with two back-to-back tournaments, won’t be repeated.
“This edition, we were forced to play the Nations League so close because of two things, pandemic and a Winter World Cup.
“It won’t be an issue in 2025 because you have Nations League Final Four in March and the Gold Cup in June,” he said.
The CONCACAF president said the looming World Cup, being held in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026, means national team coaches will want to test their teams to the full.
“The truth of the matter is, unless you want to commit technical suicide, the only way to really prepare your teams for the World Cup is in these tournament-style environments because friendlies are not really ideal,” he said.
“It’s hard to get good friendlies if you see some of the opponents that some of our teams are getting. It doesn’t match up calendar-wise with top European club teams or South American that are already starting World Cup qualifying.
“So the truth is where you’re going to get the simulation of a World Cup in ’26 is really only through your Confederation tournaments,” he added.