Chelsea could offer FIFA huge dilemma with major statement after Real Madrid claim

Chelsea players celebrate
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Stephanie Meek - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Previously reported claims from Carlo Ancelotti that Real Madrid won't be playing in next year's Club World Cup raised eyebrows.

Madrid have qualified for a revamped 32-team tournament next summer which will also include the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City. The tournament will be played across a four-week period in the United States and has a £600million-plus prize fund.

But several leading figures from across the game have voiced their concerns that the new tournament will put added strain on players amid a busy calender. It was initially reported that Ancelotti had made his feelings clear in an interview with the Italian media that the reigning Champions League winners will not compete.

However, Madrid have since confirmed that they will play in the tournament, with Ancelotti clarifying his comments, insisting that they were misconstrued. "In my interview with il Giornale, my words about the FIFA Club World Cup were not interpreted in the way I intended," he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Nothing could be further from my interest than to reject the possibility of playing in a tournament that I consider could be a great opportunity to continue fighting for big titles with Real Madrid."

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Madrid's refusal would have worried senior figures at FIFA. The La Liga giants will be pivotal to the tournament's global success with their participation bringing huge interest.

And whilst Chelsea may not have the same prestige, the Blues remain one of the biggest names in football. The club would also have had every right to feel that if this new tournament is not good enough for Real, then why will it be good enough for them.

Chelsea's withdrawal would be a hammer blow to FIFA with their absence in the USA likely to hit football's global governing body hard. However, the club's hierarchy have attached importance to the tournament so any withdrawal is remote. understands that part of the reason behind Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino not being happy to continue was in part because of the Club World Cup. The club's hierarchy viewed it as a 'double season' and they did not want to make a decision on a manager next summer because they are taking the tournament very seriously.

The power is firmly with the clubs and a huge statement could be made if the Blues and other leading European clubs decided not to participate in FIFA's latest controversial idea.