Liverpool FC have been invited to take part in FIFA’s new 24-team Club World Cup, which could be worth more than £100 million to the club.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino is pushing ahead with his idea of the new tournament, which will take place every four years, beginning in June 2021.
The tournament is set to be held in different continents every year, with China being the first country understood to have already held talks about being the first host nation.
Liverpool will be not be the only English side in the tournament – with fellow Premier League rivals Manchester United also invited to take part.
The clubs involved will share a prize pot of £1.5 billion, with a guaranteed £50 million for each side and around £100 million for the competition winners. For context, Liverpool received £146 million from the Premier League for their fourth-placed finish in 2016/17.
The first edition of the competition will be invitation-only and 12 European clubs will be involved in the tournament, with FIFA choosing to invite those clubs who have won at least three European cups.
Liverpool – who are five-time winners, hoping to make it six in Kiev on May 26, join Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Ajax and Inter Milan as invitees. Two-time winners Juventus have also been given a special invitation.
The remaining 12 spots will be made up of clubs from around the world. South American sides Boca Juniors, River Plate, Santos, Flamengo and Nacional are likely to form much of the competition.
The competition will run from June 10 to 28, following the conclusion of the European season. The format is set to have eight groups of three teams, which will be followed by a quarter-final, semi-final and final. This means each team will have a minimum of two matches and a maximum of five.
The new-look tournament will be invitation-only for the first season, however thereafter it is set to be a qualification process. The 12 European clubs will be made up from the past four Champions winners, the four finalists and the next four sides with the best European coefficient scores.
Four South American teams will be guaranteed qualification every year, with a fifth side facing a play-off round against the top Oceania side.
Africa, Asia and North America will have two participating clubs each, with the host nation’s league winner making up the numbers.
It remains to be seen whether the competition will mean a reshuffle to most teams’ pre-season plans, with clubs perhaps favouring the more-lucrative tournament over their own tours.