FIFA President Gianni Infantino Discusses Women's, Club World Cup Formats

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

FIFA President Gianni Infantino attends the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup semi-final football match between Brazil's Flamengo and Saudi's al-Hilal at the Khalifa International Stadium in the Qatari capital Doha on December 17, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has laid out ambitious plans for the Women's World Cup and Club World Cup competitions, hoping to stage the former every two years and wanting to turn the latter into the biggest club tournament in the world.

Per Rob Harris of the Associated Press, the current Women's World Cup is played every four years, but FIFA are hoping to double that frequency, citing the "incredible impact for the development of the game." 

According to Harris, Infantino also said FIFA has nine offers from companies looking to buy the revised Club World Cup. Currently consisting of seven teams, it will expand to 24 in 2021.

Infantino was adamant FIFA needs to have the "best" tournaments:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Infantino takes on UEFA: “The Champions League is generating money from all over the world ... & the money goes where? To Europe. Obviously, it’s the mission of UEFA. The mission of FIFA is the world." https://t.co/kWSMbAPFS1 https://t.co/b0hAlnxRIL

UEFA currently organises the Champions League, Europe's top club competition. European teams have won the last six editions of the Club World Cup, which pits continental champions and the host nation's national champion against each other.

The tournament has failed to gain much traction in Europe in its current format, but that could change in 2021. The field will be expanded to 24 teams, including eight from Europe, and will only be held once every four years.

Per the Times' Henry Winter, Infantino is looking for more parity among the clubs:

Henry Winter @henrywinter

Infantino: “We have 10, 12 clubs from five European countries that are at a certain level & the rest of the whole world is far behind. My vision is we should have, say, 50 clubs from all continents that are more or less at the same level.” Pushing expanded FIFA Club World Cup 😱

The Women's World Cup also continues to grow, and will expand from 24 to 32 teams in 2023. This year's edition surpassed all expectations for viewing figures, and generated a ton of attention for the sport, especially on social media.

Golden Boot winner Megan Rapinoe led the United States to the title and was awarded Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the year:

David Gardner @byDavidGardner

SI’s 2019 Sportsperson of the Year is Megan Rapinoe, and her cover is pretty terrific https://t.co/qldWuX70qT https://t.co/ZKWOd0Mh2X

The United States have won the last two world cups.

Infantino also discussed the possibility of cross-border leagues, something FIFA has opposed in the past. Citing the example of Belgium and the Netherlands, who have discussed merging their leagues, he said it may help their teams become more competitive.