FIFA announce plans for Women’s Club World Cup
FIFA have confirmed plans to introduce a first ever Women’s Club World Cup, matching the similar men’s competition that has been an annual part of the football calendar in 2005.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino had stated back in 2019 that a proposed new Women’s Club World Cup competition would start ‘as soon as possible’.
The promise of the new Club World Cup came at today’s FIFA council meeting. Further key points from the meeting include an endorsement for expanding the number of women’s football teams at the Olympics from 12 to 16 and the creation of a Futsal Women’s World Cup.
It was also announced that the current international match calendar will remain unchanged until 2025, with the hosts for the 2027 and 2031 World Cups to be decided in 2024 and 2025 respectively.
“We want to create a new women’s Club World Cup and a new Fifa Futsal Women’s World Cup every four years,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said. “We would like to see if the women’s Olympic tournament can have 16 teams like the men’s does.”
At this stage, FIFA have offered little in the way of details as to how a Women’s Club World Cup might look amid significant changes and expansion to the existing men’s format. The new Club World Cup is set to feature 32 men’s teams, and will begin under this fresh format in 2025.
“In establishing the details of the new international match calendars, due consideration shall be given to the players’ health and well-being as a primary goal,” a statement from FIFA read. “All of the above key strategic principles will be detailed in consultation with the relevant stakeholders in the coming months.”
What it will mean is the opportunity for club teams in different continental confederations to play each other in an official competitive setting for the first time.
Early unofficial forerunners to a Women’s Club World Cup have been taking place sporadically for the past decade. In 2012, Lyon, Canberra United, INAC Kobe and NTV Beleza played an invitational tournament organised by the Japan Football Association, while there were plans in 2014 to host a one-off game between then UEFA Champions League holders (Wolfsburg) and then Copa Libertadores Femenina champions (Sao Jose) that never got off the ground.
More recent steps included a friendly between Arsenal and Seattle Reign (now OL Reign) in 2016.
The creation of a Women’s Club World Cup has already been met with criticism, given the number of long-term injuries that have been sustained this year, and the questions raised over the already congested fixture schedule.
Gianni Infantino re-elected FIFA president until 2027
Why Pele wanted Lionel Messi & Argentina to win 2022 World Cup
The daughter of the late Pele has revealed that the footballing legend wanted bitter rivals Argentina to win the 2022 World Cup for Lionel Messi after Brazil’s elimination.
After a battle with cancer, Pele passed away at the age of 82 on December 29 2022, 11 days after the World Cup final.
He spent much of the tournament in Qatar in palliative care and surrounded by family.
Pele’s beloved Brazil were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by Croatia on penalties, missing out on a South American showdown with Argentina.
His daughter, Kely Nascimento, shared a story about her father on Instagram after bumping into Messi’s wife, Antonela Roccuzzo.
Nascimento wrote: “Story time: This is the very beautiful and graceful Antonela Roccuzzo, Messi’s wife.
“I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Messi so when I met her in that magical place of every party (the ladies’ room) I passed him a message through her.
“By the time Brazil lost against Croatia my dad was getting a lot worse. Everybody wanted Brazil to win this cup for my dad, nobody more than the national team!
“But my father understood better than most what football is like. And it was really this possibility that any team could win that he always talked about that he loved about this beautiful game.
“After the defeat of Brazil every person who entered that hospital room (all day and every day until the final!!!) said: “Hey Pele? Now who do you want? Of course Argentina NO!
“And he would say “Argentina yes! This cup has to stay in South America and Messi deserves it!
“Everyone was pretending (and sometimes not pretending) horror!!! HOW?! Argentina!!!?
“And he would simply say ‘yes, Messi deserves it’.
“He wasn’t getting to watch TV in the final anymore, but he understood that Argentina won and Messi got to lift the cup, and he was happy.
“Long live football.”
Thiago Silva hits out at ‘joke’ ranking for Julian Alvarez at The Best awards
Chelsea and Brazil centre-back Thiago Silva has questioned how Julian Alvarez secured a seventh-place finish at FIFA’s The Best awards recently.
Alvarez impressed with Argentina as La Albiceleste won the World Cup during the winter but has struggled for minutes since joining Manchester City in the summer, starting just six Premier League games as he competes with Erling Haaland.
Despite that, Alvarez still managed to rack up enough points to finish seventh in the award rankings, beating the likes of Neymar, Kevin De Bruyne, Vinicius Junior and Robert Lewandowski.
Only Sadio Mane, Haaland, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and eventual winner Lionel Messi picked up more votes than Alvarez.
The Man City striker’s place on the list has attracted plenty of criticism from fans who argued that the impact of the World Cup played too much of a role in deciding the final rankings, and it seems as though Silva agrees.
“It’s a joke,” Silva wrote on Instagram in response to a post which questioned Alvarez’s final standing.
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The award was partly voted for by fans, with Alvarez picking up the third most votes among supporters, behind only Mbappe and Messi.
Nine of his 15 points came from the fan vote, although the City striker still managed to pick up six from the rest of the voting, which was conducted by coaches, captains and journalists from countries across the world.
Silva himself voted for international teammate Neymar to win the award, with Messi second and Benzema in third.
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