Women's Football is ready for a Club World Cup but FIFA hasn't even sorted its men's version. The private sector is currently solving it.
|If the (Men’s) FIFA Club World Cup’s immediate future is uncertain and is something that the sanctioning body should resolve soon, it is less likely that a Women’s Club World Cup is on top of the agenda but it could be.|
In the absence of a Women’s Club World Cup, Relevent Sports Group -a New York City-based sports media company and promoter of sporting events- launched the Women’s International Champions Cup in 2018, after a series of friendly men’s tournament’s featuring mostly European and North American teams in US stadiums.
This year’s WICC featured the Champion teams from the perhaps three most competitive women’s club domestic competitions, the NWSL (Portland), the FA WSL (Chelsea), and the Ligue 1 Féminin (Lyon), whose Champion also won the most competitive tournament, the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
In addition to these three teams, the tournament also invited the Rayadas de Monterrey, the Liga MX Femenil Champions. This team pulled the uspet by eliminating the incumbent Champions and local team, Portland Thorns, although they lost to the Olympique Lyonnais by 4-0 in the Final.
At the same time, another tournament called The Women’s Cup was also hosted in the US, also featuring teams from North America and Europe, as well as a team from Japan, Tokyo Verdy. Both Mexican Club América and the Japanese squad beat the English Tottenham Hotspur, and América also beat AC Milan (ITA). Two US teams closed out the finals.
These tournaments show us that there are enough countries with competitive club teams to merit a World Cup. Perhaps the UEFA Women’s Champions League Champions would be the favorites to win but the result would not be a slam dunk.
The Men’s edition is in limbo as FIFA has not announced its plans for this year’s Club World Cup, after the planned edition in China with 24 squads has had to be postponed due to covid-19, and China is not a feasible country to host the tournament due to its zero-tolerance policy against covid.
If there is no other feasible host for such 24-team tournament, FIFA should go ahead and continue organizing the club World Cup in the usual fashion: with each confederation’s Champion plus a local team. Actually, it would not be bad to scrap this tournament for the years in which the proposed quadrennial Club World Cup does not take place.
Every year has a different generation and they should have a shot at the maximum prize. That applies to women too. Fortunately capitalism finds ways to solve for the market failures, and while FIFA is asleep, it is meaningful that companies in the US are investing in the women’s game.