Wednesday 28 February 2024, 16:30

Race for Mundial de Clubes FIFA™ qualification heats up around the globe

  • The inaugural Mundial de Clubes FIFA™ is set for the United States in 2025

  • Nineteen out of 32 clubs have secured their spot at the tournament

  • Positions are still up for grabs in Europe, South America, North, Central America and the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa

Qualification for the inaugural edition of FIFA’s new prime club competition, Mundial de Clubes FIFA™, is well underway with many key fixtures to be played over the coming weeks. The new 32-team competition features clubs from each of FIFA’s six confederations, competing for the title of world champions. Nineteen clubs have already locked in their place, with many more around the world racing to secure qualification. Oceania (OFC) is the only confederation that has no more slots left to fill, however places in Europe (UEFA), Asia (AFC), South America (CONMEBOL), North, Central America and the Caribbean (Concacaf), Asia (AFC), and Africa (CAF) are still up for grabs. This article outlines the teams who are still eligible to qualify and highlights key fixtures coming up.

Phil Foden of Manchester City celebrates scoring their team's third goal during the FIFA Club World Cup Saudi Arabia 2023 Final

Europe (UEFA)

In total, there are 12 spots available for European clubs with eight having already qualified. Manchester City FC (ENG), Real Madrid CF (ESP), and Chelsea FC (ENG) will all appear at the inaugural Mundial de Clubes FIFA as continental champions. FC Bayern München (GER), Paris Saint-Germain FC (FRA), FC Internazionale Milano (ITA), FC Porto (POR), and SL Benfica (POR) have also earned their spots via Europe’s ranking pathway. This means there are four spots still available: one for the winners of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) 2023/24 – unless they are among the already-qualified clubs indicated above – and three (possibly four) via the ranking pathway.


SSC Napoli (ITA) and SS Lazio (ITA) are still active in the UCL and can clinch their spot by winning the competition. They can also qualify via the ranking pathway. Since Inter have already secured a ranking slot, and a maximum of two clubs per country can qualify through that route, only one of Juventus FC (ITA), Napoli, and Lazio can still make it to the Mundial de Clubes on ranking. For Lazio to have a chance of claiming the spot, they would need to make it to the UCL final, and claim an additional 12 ranking points on that journey. Lazio currently lead FC Bayern München 1-0 following their first-leg home match and will travel to Germany on 5 March. If Lazio fail to accrue 12 more points, Napoli could secure qualification by winning two more matches in the UCL. They are currently locked at 1-1 following their first leg home match against FC Barcelona (ESP) and will play the return leg in Spain on 12 March. Juventus are currently leading the rankings but cannot earn any further points. They would qualify if Barcelona and Bayern win their ties in March.

Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid scores during the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2022 Final


Club Atlético de Madrid (ESP), Barcelona, and Real Sociedad de Fútbol (ESP) are still in the running to represent Spain at the Mundial de Clubes FIFA, joining Real Madrid, who automatically qualified after winning the UCL in 2021/22. For Real Sociedad to qualify they must win the UCL this season, as they are not in the running to qualify through the ranking pathway. They will look to overcome a 2-0 deficit when they host PSG on 5 March. Both Atlético and Barcelona can still qualify via both pathways. Atlético are in the box seat and could seal their spot if results go their way. If Barcelona and Real Sociedad are both eliminated in the Round of 16, then Atlético – who will face Inter on 13 March following their 1-0 loss in Milan on 20 February – will qualify for the Mundial de Clubes FIFA. As for Barcelona, they must reach the semi-finals of the UCL while hoping that Atlético and Real Sociedad stumble. The Blaugrana will host Napoli on 12 March after a 1-1 draw in Italy on 21 February.


BV Borussia 09 Dortmund (GER) and Rasen Ballsport Leipzig (GER) are the two clubs in the running to join the already qualified (based on ranking) Bayern as Germany’s representatives at the Mundial de Clubes FIFA. Leipzig – who travel to Spain on 6 March following their 1-0 home loss against Real Madrid – must reach at least the semi-finals of the UCL to have a chance of overhauling Dortmund, who host PSV on 13 March after a 1-1 draw in first leg. Any other outcome will result in Dortmund taking the spot.


While FC Salzburg are currently ranked 18th overall in the European rankings and already eliminated from this year’s UCL, they could benefit from the rule that a maximum of two clubs per country can qualify, except if there are three different UCL winners from the same country. With Italy, Spain and Germany now assured to have a maximum of two representatives each, UEFA Champions League title success for any team other than PSV Eindhoven (NED), Arsenal FC (ENG), or FC Copenhagen (DEN) this year will ensure Salzburg seal a slot in the United States.

Urawa Red Diamonds celebrate winning the AFC Champions League

Asia (AFC)

Asia has four spots in the Mundial de Clubes FIFA with Al Hilal (KSA) and Urawa Reds (JPN) already qualified, having won the AFC Champions League (ACL) in 2021/22 and 2022/23 respectively. This leaves two places: one spot for the winner of this year’s ACL, and the other for a club to qualify via the ranking pathway. Jeonbuk Motors (KOR), Ulsan HD FC (KOR) and Al Nassr (KSA) are the three clubs still in the running to qualify via rankings, with all three also having a chance to qualify as ACL winners, which is currently at the quarter-final stage. Jeonbuk take on Ulsan in an all-Korea Republic quarter-final (on 5 and 12 March), with Jeonbuk slightly ahead of Ulsan in the rankings – meaning they will secure qualification by winning this tie. For Ulsan to qualify, they will need to defeat Jeonbuk in this tie, and will likely need to score points in the semi-final, too. Alternatively, if Al Hilal – who face Al Ittihad FC on 5 and 12 March – win this edition of the ACL, then that would open up an additional rankings spot in Asia, which would allow both sides to potentially go through. While it is mathematically possible for Al Nassr to qualify via rankings, they are relying on Al Hilal winning the ACL to open up a second ranking spot, Jeonbuk preventing Ulsan from progressing, and then claiming enough points themselves to overtake Ulsan. Al Nassr – who meet Al Ain (UAE) on 4 and 11 March – could also potentially grab second spot in the rankings if Ulsan eliminate Jeonbuk with minimum points before being eliminated in the semi-finals. Al Nassr would then need to earn enough points to exceed Ulsan’s total.

FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2022 match between Wydad Athletic Club and Al Hilal at Prince Moulay Abdellah

Africa (CAF)

Africa will be represented by four teams in the Mundial de Clubes FIFA with two of the spots already secured. Winners of the 2020/21 and 2022/23 CAF Champions League, Al Ahly SC (EGY) have secured one spot while 2021/22 edition champions Wydad Athletic Club (MAR) have secured another. The winners of the current edition of the CAF Champions League, whose group stage will come to a close on 1 and 2 March, will take one spot with the best ranking team taking the fourth. Mamelodi Sundowns FC (RSA) and Espérance Sportive de Tunis (TUN) are the only two teams who can qualify via the ranking pathway. They could both advance via this route should Al Ahly or Wydad Athletic Club happen to reign supreme in Africa once again. Indeed, all eyes will be on Africa this Saturday evening. Should Al Hilal S.C. (SDN) defeat Espérance Sportive de Tunis away from home, the Sundowns will be assured of a spot in the United States.

Al Ahly SC v CF Monterrey: 2nd Round - FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021

North, Central America and Caribbean (Concacaf)

Concacaf have four spots available in the tournament, plus an additional spot reserved for a team from the United States as the host country. CF Monterrey (MEX), Seattle Sounders FC (USA) and Club León (MEX) have already qualified after winning the Concacaf Champions Cup in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively. The fourth spot will go to the winners of the 2024 Champions Cup which is still at Round One stage, with the last remaining second legs taking place on 27-29 February. With Monterrey still active in this year’s Concacaf Champions Cup, there remains the possibility for four clubs – Philadelphia Union (USA), Columbus Crew (USA), Liga Deportiva Alajuelense (CRC), and New England Revolution (USA) – to secure a place at the Mundial de Clubes FIFA via the ranking pathway.

The logo of Fluminense is seen on a jersey during the FIFA Club World Cup Saudi Arabia 2023 Semi Final

South America (CONMEBOL)

Six spots have been allocated to South America for the Mundial de Clubes FIFA with Brazilian clubs showcasing their dominance by securing the first three spots. SE Palmeiras (BRA) (2021), CR Flamengo (BRA) (2022) and Fluminense FC (BRA) (2023) are the trio of Brazilian clubs that have secured their spot having won the past three CONMEBOL Libertadores. One more spot remains for the winner of the 2024 CONMEBOL Libertadores – which is still in its qualifying stage, with the return legs of the second stage due to be held on 27-29 February – with two more places available via the ranking pathway. As it stands, Club Atlético Boca Juniors (ARG), Club Atlético River Plate (ARG) and Club Olimpia (PAR) are the top three eligible teams, but with an entire continental tournament still to be played, the picture could yet evolve in South America.

Dylan Manickum of Auckland City runs with the ball during the FIFA Club World Cup match between Al Ittihad FC and Auckland City FC at King Abdullah Sports City

Oceania (OFC)

Auckland City FC (NZL) have secured Oceania’s single spot with an unassailable lead in the OFC rankings. The club has won the past two OFC Champions League tournaments and has qualified for the national play-off in the 2024 edition.


Details regarding the host slot allocation will be announced in due course.