Fossil Free Football lobby group backs Fifpro and WLA call to scrap 2025 Club World Cup

May 14 – Fan-led environmental pressure group Fossil Free Football has given its support to the Fifpro and World Leagues Association (WLA) calls for FIFA to scrap its expanded Club World Cup in 2025 and reconsider its planned calendar expansion.

The Amsterdam-based pressure group said in a statement that “scaling up competitions is entirely inappropriate given the negative impact on both overburdened players and an overheating planet.”

Fifpro and the WLA argue that they were not consulted over plans for the Club World Cup which they say both damages the health of over-worked players and is a direct assault on the commercial revenues of the domestic leagues that are the basis of the professional football structure worldwide.

FIFA has no role in the professional leagues, has no financial commitment to them, their growth, or their players, but nevertheless wants a slice of their revenues for what Fifpro and WLA say are their own commercial reasons.

Fossil Free Football argues that: “Ongoing addition of matches not only directly endangers the safety of players but expands football’s deep environmental impact just as it must be cut back. More and bigger international tournaments means more polluting flights and (often unnecessary) stadium construction. The pollution caused by this expansion threatens the grassroots communities on which the sport depends.”

The lobby group argues FIFA should honour its commitments to halve carbon emissions by 2030 under the US Sports for Climate Action Framework.

Peter Crisp of Fossil Free Football said: “FIFA must listen to the clear warning signs from players and the only planet that we can play football on and realise that this is not the time for more matches. The Premier League warns of a calendar tipping point, while stretched players are speaking out about injury risks and burnout. At the same time, record smashing high temperatures and extreme weather events like deadly flooding in Brazil make it clear that football’s pollution footprint must be cut back and not increased.”

At its annual congress on Friday in Bangkok, Thailand, FIFA agenda item 3 is dedicated to ‘Competition-related matters’. Two items in that section are 3.2 – Men’s Competitions, and 3.4 – Future of Calendar and Competitions.

Fifpro and the WLA have threatened legal action if FIFA do not react to their demands. Those agenda items are the opportunity for FIFA to raise their concerns in front of their membership. Failure to do so will pretty much guarantee legal action that could potentially split the game and threaten FIFA’s biggest money-making competition, the World Cup, that relies on the full compliance of the professional game for the supply of its players pretty much free of charge.

So far FIFA has treated the complaint with a tone verging on condescending contempt in a letter that refuted the complaint.

The World Cup is undoubtedly the greatest show on earth as a spectacle, but it is not the highest standard of football. The current FIFA leadership is prepared to play chicken with the underpinning players and leagues that fund that event in a way no previous administration has done. FIFA could win. But they could also lose. The question for FIFA is whether it is worth the risk of losing.

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