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Women's Club World Cup - FIFA announce intention to form groundbreaking tournament

In a week when the men's World Cup reached its conclusion in Qatar with Argentina edging France in a frantic final on Sunday, FIFA have been looking to the future with discussions around the formatting of future international competitions.

Already we know that the next edition of the men's World Cup in 2026 will take place in the USA, Mexico and Canada and will feature 48 teams.

And at a recent FIFA council meeting, the organisation's President Gianni Infantino confirmed plans to revamp the current format of the men's Club World Cup by expanding the field to 32 teams.

That announcement has been met with doubt and confusion but FIFA have at least received a generally positive response to the news that they are planning to launch the first ever Women's Club World Cup in the coming years as well.

Revealing the news, Infantino said: "We want to create a new women's Club World Cup and a new FIFA Futsal Women's World Cup every four years."

The exact format of the tournament is yet to be discussed but it could be in place as soon as 2025, providing a major boost for the women's game.

What would a Women's Club World Cup look like?

There is a lot for FIFA to work out before a Women's World Cup comes to fruition and, although they have also approved a new Futsal Women's World Cup to take place in the near future, they have confirmed the existing international calendar will stay the same until 2025.

The suggestion of a Women's Club World Cup had been put forward by Infantino following the 2019 Women's World Cup, while in 2014 there were reportedly plans for a one-off fixture between Champions League winners Wolfsburg and Copa Libertadores winners Sao Jose but it never went ahead.

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It remains to be seen whether or not FIFA intend to go with a 32-team structure for the Women's Club World Cup as well or if they will start it with the current format of the men's tournament, which involves seven teams from six different confederations.

The defending champions of the men's Club World Cup are Chelsea, who beat Palmeiras in the 2021 event earlier this year.

Which teams could be involved?

While the exact format of the potential tournament is currently unknown, a Club World Cup could represent a great step forwards in women's football.

One of the major differences between the men's and women's games is the fact many of the best women players ply their trade outside of Europe and so a Club World Cup could open the door to some truly fascinating competitive encounters.

Women's Super League giants such as Arsenal and Chelsea, or other European heavyweights such as Lyon and Barcelona, could find themselves locking horns with South American side Corinthians, while the tournament is also expected to involve teams from the National Women's Soccer League in the USA such as Portland Thorns.

The USA have been the frontrunners in developing women's soccer over the years with the Stars and Stripes having won the World Cup on four occasions.

As a result, the nation's domestic league - the NWSL - is also among the most competitive in the world and features big-name players such as Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan.

The chance to see such players mixing it with the best from Europe, South America and other continents at club level is an exciting prospect.

Why might a Women's Club World Cup be controversial?

For all the positives a Women's World Cup could bring, there are also fears that it could contribute to the continued issues surrounding player welfare.

As in the men's game, there are concerns around the existing schedule for women's players with Women's Super League managers such as Emma Hayes having been critical of the quick turnaround between Euro 2022 earlier this summer and the start of pre-season.

FIFA claim they are aware of this and released a statement which read: "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.

"All of the above key strategic principles will be detailed in consultation with relevant stakeholders in the coming months."

The implementation of the tournament is sure to come under scrutiny in the next few years but it represents the first time fans will be able to see women's clubs from across different continents play one another in a competitive setting and could be a big step in the right direction.

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