IT hasn’t all been bad news for Chelsea recently because they have already been awarded a place in the hugely expanded Club World Cup in 2025.
This will enrich them by at least £25million and while that may be small change for them, it is still — as Del Boy would have put it — “a nice little earner”.
But how come Chelsea have learned this week that they are already in the soon-to-be bloated competition?
Manchester City are set to join them and based on a coefficient of European performance over the previous five years, Liverpool and Manchester United are in the running.
And that’s about the lot unless one of the other Premier League teams wins the Champions League up to 2024. That would bring the total to the maximum allocation of four.
The rest of us can go howl into the wind.
Europe has 12 places in all, so Real Madrid are definitely in while Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich could practically book flights now. The other 20 spots are shared by the other continents.
There is a proviso to all speculation.
Clubs probably have an option to say “no thanks”. Even the self-sanctified Gianni Infantino is not God, although I think he thinks he is, creating his own Laws for Planetary Football Domination — which appears to be a calculated mess.
Many political plans are, of course, but this one is a re-heating of the European Super League that set supporters ablaze at the cash-power grab by six English clubs and a coterie of the continent’s rich.
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The reaction sent most of the dirty dozen scurrying. Within days the ESL was dead — or “passed” as our newly-desensitised language puts it.
Infantino was lurking, though.
Evidently, he shares ideas about the have-a-lots and the have-less and so World Cup plans reintroduce the Rich Laws which in the case of the Premier League favours those with a recent history of successful super-high spending against those attempting to achieve greatness.
So, Chelsea, Man City and the others involved in the ESL are the ones who will be blessed with entry into Fifa’s brushed-up club competition.
Designed to undermine Uefa and, more importantly, to enhance Fifa’s already massive earnings, its formula reaches across the oceans to continents of lesser means.
On paper, the idea is appealing.
In practice it expands football to bursting point, pressing players into never-ending employment as if exhaustion and injury were no problem.
Another summer’s intense competition added to a calendar already dog-eared with fixtures is to flog Grade A players into dog-tired troupers.
The 32-team competition itself will have five rounds so that finalists could be in the US — favourite to be hosts pre-the World Cup itself in North America — for over three weeks which, if you factor in club pre-season tours, would leave a minimal time to holiday at the usual favoured resting sites: beaches, bars or in Dubai.
With the exception of one-time winners Chelsea, the existence or at least the credibility of the present seven-team Club World Cup has all the relevance of Red Riding Hood. It is fairly harmless.
But its successor?
As a spokesman for LaLiga said: “Fifa continues its malpractice of making unilateral decisions on the world football calendar, showing complete disregard for the importance of national championships and the football community in general.
“Fifa completely neglects the economic damage these decisions inflict on leagues around the world.”
I could not have put it better myself.