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Soccer’s international organizing body is set to expand the event to 24 teams, up from its past slate of seven teams, in time for the 2021 Club World Cup in China. Unlike FIFA’s flagship World Cup, which features teams specific to countries, the Club World Cup includes top pro teams from federations around the world.
The revamp will require a sizable investment to secure the participation of top European clubs from the English Premier League and other federations, at least some of which desire to enter as joint owners of the Club World Cup rather than mere participants, the New York Times reported. To secure the funds, FIFA hired The Raine Group, a US-based global advisory firm with expertise in the sports industry.
The Raine Group assisted City Football Group, a soccer-focused holding company that owns the English club Manchester City, in its effort to sell a $500 million stake to investment giant Silver Lake late last year. The firm also advised Endeavor in its acquisition of NFL-linked hospitality firm On Location in January.
FIFA hired Raine Group just months after it opened a bidding process for potential investments in the Club World Cup. It’s unclear if FIFA sought outside help because the process failed to attract enough bids.
The revamped Club World Cup will replace the existing Confederations Cup tournament as well as the past version of FIFA’s competition for pro clubs, SportsBusiness.com reported.