Club football is becoming ever more expensiveThomas Serer / Unsplash

Football needs to hit the reset button. The announcement of a Club World Cup, starting in 2025, means fans need to question FIFA’s decisions. Lovers of the beautiful game, like myself, must make a stand against the football authorities who are taking us for fools.

The newly proposed FIFA Club World Cup will take place every four years like the international World Cup, adding yet another major tournament to an already hectic schedule. The selection of the host nations for the 2030 World Cup this year means that now is the time to question FIFA’s decisions about the future of the sport. There is no doubt that the 48 team, three-country 2026 World Cup is a continuation of FIFA’s record of increasing revenue streams at supporters’ expense. Questions must be asked. Is FIFA catering more to the elite than to those who live and breathe the sport?

Football is broken. Almost every week, examples of this brokenness write headlines and fill back-pages, as shown by the announcement of the Super League in 2021. UEFA advocated for the dissolution of this league, but then came up with a new Champions League format in the works that is almost equivalent to a franchise system.

“Games are no longer accessible”

Club football continues to get more expensive, especially in major competitions like the Premier League. As a lifelong Bayern Munich fan, I have grown attached to German football and the 50+1 rule that embodies it. Although this rule needs reform to make German football fairer, it personifies everything that the modern game lacks: care for the local community, affordable ticket prices, agency for local communities over national bodies, and great atmospheres that come with enthusiastic fan participation.

Why is it that the German ultras (except those of Red Bull controlled RB Leipzig) are the only ones protesting against ticket prices and UEFA’s reforms in Champions League matches? I have been to Bayern games for less than 90 euros in the best seats. It is almost impossible to find this affordability in any of the major club leagues elsewhere in Europe. My friend, a lifetime Arsenal fan, has not been in many years due to inflated ticket prices. The sense of belonging to a club or a nation brings supporters together and this is impossible when ticket prices for games are extortionate. Games are no longer accessible for the communities who formed clubs at the beginning of the twentieth century.


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This World Cup should not be happening

This is even more true on the international stage. In 2018, I tried to go to the World Cup final in Russia. However, it would have cost at least 10,000 euros for tickets to the game. In comparison, a good seat at Milan’s La Scala to watch The Nutcracker costs a tenth of that. This shows how elitist not only the World Cup, but all high-level football has become. FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s ridiculous statement, that the Qatar World Cup was “the best ever” exemplifies FIFA’s intention that football will, in the future, cater only to the wealthiest, at the expense of the average lover of the beautiful game.

A return to the roots: caring for the football community, less elitist pricing of tickets, and promotion of only a certain number of high-level games within the major competitions that already exist, is the way to revive the sport for the masses. While the football world further fragments, we must hope that one day football federations might put fans first.

To those arguing that money must be made from football, I say that as the most popular sport in the world, this will never be a problem, so stop taking us for granted. We who care about the beautiful game must oppose how football federations throughout the world are choosing capitalist gain over catering to those who keep the sport alive. We need to remind FIFA that they have no authority without supporters.