When is the next FIFA Club World Cup? Who will the Seattle Sounders face in the international FIFA tournament?

The Seattle Sounders made history as the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League, and the first MLS side to win a North American continental championship since 2000.

It’s time to look ahead to the next FIFA Club World Cup, with the Sounders earning a berth by virtue of winning the top club competition in the CONCACAF region (North America, Central America and the Caribbean).

Unfortunately, not much is yet known about the 2022 Club World Cup. COVID-19 scheduling issues caused the 2021 edition to be moved locations and postponed until February 2022. Since, not much has been officially released by FIFA regarding this year’s tournament.

Still, The Sporting News brings you everything we know so far — and what still has yet to be confirmed — about the 2022 Club World Cup, and the participation of the Seattle Sounders.

MORE: How the Sounders earned a berth to the FIFA Club World Cup

What is the FIFA Club World Cup?

The Club World Cup is a global tournament featuring all continental champions from each federation from each continent’s most recently completed tournament.

In the past, each confederation sends one representative, making six participants, with a seventh added from the host nation. This makes for a star-studded event, with big clubs from Europe, South America, and North America clashing with continental champions of Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

Last year, UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea won the competition, defeating Brazilian side and defending Copa Libertadores champions Palmeiras in the final.

This year, however, the format will be much different. FIFA has decided to expand the tournament from seven teams to 24 teams. Last year’s event was meant to be the debut of this new expanded format, but due to complications from COVID-19, FIFA postponed the event to February 2022 and kept the old seven-team format, pushing expansion to a later date.

Unfortunately, not much more is publicly known at this point, including where the additional teams will come from or how the tournament will be formatted. FIFA has not responded to multiple attempts by The Sporting News to reach out with those questions.

MORE: CONCACAF Champions League prize money

When is the FIFA Club World Cup?

Similar to the above issue with the expanded format, the date for this year’s tournament has yet to be nailed down, and FIFA has not made a formal announcement regarding the tournament.

In the past, the tournament has been played in December, with many leagues around the world taking breaks for the holiday season, allowing clubs to participate without too many complications rearranging league fixtures. Obviously, this year, that cannot be the case as the 2022 FIFA World Cup is already taking place throughout December, and leagues have built in breaks to accommodate the landmark international soccer event.

Similarly, leagues will struggle to find further places to create breaks in the schedule, as the World Cup has already created significant fixture congestion around the world.

The Sporting News will update this information when more has been made known, but at this point, it’s likely that FIFA is still discussing the best time for clubs to depart for this tournament before setting the official schedule.

MORE: Prize money at the last edition of FIFA Club World Cup

Where is the FIFA Club World Cup

To this point, FIFA has not confirmed the location of the 2022 Club World Cup. You’re starting to see a developing theme.

The 2021 edition of the tournament was meant to be held in China and debut the new 24-team format, but with COVID-19 scheduling complications, the tournament was moved to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

While it’s speculated that China will play host for the 2022 event, that has not been confirmed, and scheduling issues could see it potentially moved again. The Sporting News will update this information when it has become known.

Who will play in the 2022 Club World Cup?

This is also a question that has not yet been fully established.

As in previous tournaments, continental champions from the six various continental federations will take part, many of which have yet to be concluded.

Beyond that, it’s unknown if this year’s tournament will also remain as a seven-team event, or if the expanded edition will be finally adopted.

If the tournament is expanded to 24 teams, it’s unclear where those additional teams come from. It’s possible that finalists from each continental competition are asked to participate, although that would seem to water down the allure of winning a continental title. It’s also possible that winning a continental title books an invitation to multiple Club World Cup tournaments, and the field only partially cycles every year.

Below are the continental winners expected to take part no matter the eventually determined format.

Confederation Competition Club
AFC AFC Champions League
CAF CAF Champions League
CONCACAF CONCACAF Champions League Seattle Sounders
CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores
OFC OFC Champions League
Uefa UEFA Champions League
TBD host nation