FIFA Announces Inaugural 16-Team Women’s Club World Cup for 2026

By Joke Kujenya

FIFA has unveiled plans for a groundbreaking 16-team Women’s Club World Cup, set to debut in January-February 2026.

This significant decision emerged from the recent FIFA Council meeting, held during the 74th FIFA Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, where the Women’s International Match Calendar for 2026-2029 was also approved.

Key Highlights from the FIFA Women’s International Match Calendar 2026-2029:

FIFA Futsal Women’s World Cup 2025™: The Philippines will host the inaugural edition of this event.

FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup™ Morocco 2025-2029: Slot allocation for this tournament is as follows:

  • AFC: 4
  • CAF: 5
  • Concacaf: 4
  • OFC: 2
  • UEFA: 5

FIFA U-17 World Cup™ Qatar 2025-2029: Slot allocation confirmed:

  • AFC: 9
  • CAF: 10
  • Concacaf: 8
  • OFC: 3
  • UEFA: 11

FIFA Arab Cup

Qatar will host the tournament in 2025, 2029, and 2033 as an invitational competition, not part of the International Match Calendar.

The FIFA Council’s decision to establish the Women’s Club World Cup reflects the organization’s commitment to elevating women’s football globally.

While the council did not specify the qualification criteria or the host country for the first edition, it is clear that the event is poised to become a landmark competition in the women’s football calendar.

Prominent Teams and Upcoming Events

European powerhouses Barcelona and Lyon, who have collectively dominated the UEFA Women’s Champions League with ten titles since 2011, are expected to be key contenders. They will face each other in the next final on May 25 in Bilbao, Spain.

This new tournament aligns with FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s vision, underlining FIFA’s strategic push to advance women’s soccer since his election in 2016. Like its men’s counterpart, the Women’s Club World Cup will occur every four years, with additional annual competitions proposed to maintain momentum and engagement in women’s club football.

Men’s Competitions and Future Plans

In parallel, a 32-team Men’s Club World Cup will launch in the United States in June-July 2025. This inaugural edition will feature 12 European teams and six from South America, selected based on their performance in continental championships over the past four years.

Additionally, FIFA plans to introduce an annual “Intercontinental Cup” starting in December, featuring champions from the six men’s continental competitions, including the prestigious UEFA Champions League.

These initiatives signify FIFA’s broader strategy to enhance the global football landscape, providing more competitive opportunities and visibility for both men’s and women’s club teams worldwide.

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