FIFA responds to FIFPRO and denies 'imposing' 2025 Club World Cup schedule

FIFA on Friday vehemently denied "imposing" its 2025 Club World Cup match schedule amid threats of legal action from leagues and unions.

In a letter to the World Leagues Association (WLA) and FIFPRO, Mattias Grafstrom, general secretary of world football's governing body, insisted that it had consulted widely on the new international calendar. The association representing professional footballers, the global players' union FIFPRO, has warned FIFA about the extensive and damaging nature of the calendar adopted by Gianni Infantino and his cohorts at world football's governing body.

"From the outset, we reject any suggestion or inference that FIFA is somehow 'imposing' the International Match Calendar (IMC) on the football community without adequate consultation or to suit its own 'business strategy'," Grafstrom said in a letter seen by AFP. 

On Thursday, the leagues and unions called onFIFA to reschedule the 32-team Club World Cup, due to be played between June 13 and July 15 next year, or face legal action. A letter from the WLA and FIFPRO, the international players' union, to FIFA president Gianni Infantino claimed the sport's global calendar was now "beyond saturation".

Mattias Grafstrom the FIFA Deputy Secretary General. GETTY IMAGES
Mattias Grafstrom the FIFA Deputy Secretary General. GETTY IMAGES

Grafstrom said FIFA was "like any other competition organiser" and was "fully entitled to set the parameters of our competitions while respecting the existing regulatory framework". He also took a swipe at domestic leagues, such as the Premier League, which organise summer competitions.

"We also recognise that there are other competition organisers, including those represented by the WLA, who are equally entitled to exercise their rights in the same way, including the ability to introduce, abolish or replace competitions and to review their formats in a reasonable manner," he said.

"This ability has been demonstrated, for example, by the introduction of international tours by members of the WLA in recent years. It would be useful for us to understand whether the motivations expressed in your letter have resulted in similar written representations and references to legal action to your members or other competition organisers," Grafstrom added.