LIVERPOOL and Manchester United have been blocked from a potential £50million payday after being ruled OUT of the new expanded Club World Cup.
Fifa chiefs unveiled the official criteria for the 12 European sides eligible to take part in the 32-team event in the USA in 2025.
Manchester City and Chelsea have been guaranteed their place in the most lucrative club event in football history – worth £1BILLION-plus – after their Champions League triumphs in 2021 and last season respectively.
But Liverpool and United are officially OUT of contention – although Arsenal could STILL take a place.
Fifa’s ruling Council – including FA chair Debbie Hewitt – agreed with the proposal that all countries would be limited to two places unless they had more continental champions.
In addition to the places for the Champions League winners between 2021 and this term, eight more European slots are available based on coefficient points earned solely in Uefa’s senior competition over the four campaigns.
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But the restriction on English places to two – unless Arsenal win the Champions League for the first time in June’s Wembley final – is a bitter blow to Liverpool in particular.
Jurgen Klopp’s men currently stand fourth in Europe’s overall rankings and would have qualified through their Champions League performances over the past three campaigns.
Under Fifa’s initial plan, allowing one coefficient place per country, Liverpool were guaranteed a spot.
That was taken away by the vote at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Jeddah, where the Council including Hewitt backed the plan and the dates of the tournament, which will take place from June 15 to July 13.
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United were hanging on to a place through the coefficients alone although they are likely to be overtaken by the end of this season.
But any remaining chance of the Old Trafford side taking part were dashed by the Fifa decision, which opens the door to the likes of Juventus even though they are out of Europe this term.
The decision means EIGHT clubs are already confirmed slots, with City, Chelsea and Real Madrid qualifying through their Champions League wins.
They will be joined by Bayern Munich, PSG, Inter Milan, Porto and Benfica.
Arsenal, Real Sociedad, PSV Eindhoven and outsiders Copenhagen can only qualify if they win the Champions League.
But at least three places – four if City or Madrid win at Wembley – can be sealed during the knock-out stage of this season’s competition.
Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid are in the box seat but could still be overtaken by Leipzig and Barcelona respectively, with Napoli – or theoretically Lazio – able to overtake Juventus.
Austrians Salzburg will qualify if City or Real Madrid win the Champions League.
The 32-team event will follow the traditional World Cup structure with eight groups of four clubs and the top two going into the knock-out round.
Every club is guaranteed three days between games and the entire event will involve 63 matches – with no third-place game.
Following the meeting, Fifa President Gianni Infantino said: “Clubs play a fundamental role in world football and the Fifa Club World Cup 2025 will be a major milestone in providing clubs from all confederations with a fitting stage on which to shine at the highest level.
“This will be an open competition based on sporting merit that will play a key role as part of our efforts to make the game truly global.”
Fifa also announced the creation of a new “Fifa Intercontinental Cup” to be played each season with the Champions League winners facing the survivor of a series of one-off games between the other five continental winners for the trophy, with the Final on neutral territory.
Past Champions league winners: Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester City
Through Champions League coefficient points: Bayern Munich, PSG, Inter Milan, Porto, Benfica
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Can qualify only if they win the Champions League this season: Arsenal, Copenhagen, PSV Eindhoven, Real Sociedad
Can qualify through Champions League coefficient (only one per country): Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig, Barcelona, Juventus, Napoli, Salzburg, Lazio
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