Footballers' unions sue FIFA over expansion of Club World Cup. FIFPRO

FIFPRO was concerned about the increasing number of games played in FIFA tournaments, which had a significant impact on the mental and physical health of players. After several warnings, they filed a complaint in Brussels.

FIFPRO, the global players' union, has taken FIFA to court. The focus is on the new Club World Cup, the number of matches per season and their negative impact on players.

FIFPRO was quick to oppose the plans of Gianni Infantino's organisation, stating that FIFA had shown "a lack of consideration for the mental and physical health of the participating players, as well as a disregard for their personal and family lives".

The 32-team event, up from seven last year, is set to take place in the United States in June-July 2025, despite FIFPRO's concerns about the increasing physical and mental demands placed on players.

Last May, FIFA downplayed those concerns and said it would not reconsider moving the 32-team Club World Cup after the association and the World Leagues Forum (WLF) threatened legal action if their plans were not reviewed.

"Once preparation and travel times are factored in, the tournament is likely to add up to six weeks of extra work to an already busy schedule," said FIFPRO Europe.

Close to Amsterdam, the FIFPRO house in Hoofddorp. FIFPRO
Close to Amsterdam, the FIFPRO house in Hoofddorp. FIFPRO

"The role of FIFPRO Europe and its members is not to support or oppose one competition over another. However, in the wider context of the global football calendar, the new FIFA Club World Cup is seen by players and unions as a game changer."

According to FIFPRO's European branch, member unions in England and France have filed a lawsuit against FIFA at the Commercial Court in Brussels.

"The member associations of FIFPRO Europe have today filed a legal action against FIFA challenging the legality of FIFA's decisions to unilaterally determine the international match calendar and, in particular, the decision to create and schedule the FIFA Club World Cup 2025," the statement said.

It added: "The players' associations believe that these decisions violate the rights of players and their unions under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and may also violate EU competition law."

The English Professional Footballers' Association said the case would "challenge the structure of football's broken calendar and enforce players' rights to protected rest periods".

The Brussels court is being asked to refer the case to the European Court of Justice for a final ruling.

"Players and their unions have consistently highlighted the current football calendar as overloaded and unworkable," the statement continued.

"Since all attempts at dialogue have failed, it is now up to us to ensure that the fundamental rights of players are fully respected by taking the matter to the European courts and thus to the ECJ," said David Terrier, President of FIFPRO Europe.