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FIFA ExCo exploring idea of Women’s Club World Cup

VfL Wolfsburg defeated Lyon in the 2013 UEFA Women's Champions League final. The two clubs meet again on May 26 in this year's final. (Photo copyright Domenic Aquilina)

Wolfsburg upset Lyon 1-0 in the 2013 UEFA Women's Champions League final. Will they soon have a chance at a Women's Club World Cup? (Photo copyright Domenic Aquilina)

A Women’s Club World Cup might be closer than anyone thought.

To be sure, there’s still a long way to go until that comes to be, but Friday’s news brings progress seemingly out of the blue. FIFA’s Executive Committee was informed of the Task Force for Women’s Football’s proposal to explore the idea of a Women’s Club World Cup.

I’ll be the first to admit that as much as this was near the top of the list of things that I wanted but didn’t expect to see, I didn’t think this idea would see the light of day anytime soon. And there’s nothing to say that the idea is anywhere close as this is noted as being a proposal, but the prospect alone of a FIFA Women’s Club World Cup is enticing.

There was already a moment of history for the FIFA Executive Committee, as three women – Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) and co-opted members Moya Dodd (Australia) and Sonia Bien-Aime (Turks and Caicos Islands) – took part in a FIFA Executive Committee meeting.

There are plenty of logistical obstacles with a Women’s Club World Cup competition, of course, as women’s football clubs around the world struggle to make ends meet. There are the basics: Where and when will the competition be held, how many teams will participate, what sort of prize money guarantees would there be and so forth.

Adding to that is the very issue of likely needing to add sub-competitions for objective qualification (as opposed to just selecting teams/leagues), which adds to the travel and and financial burdens of teams.

Europe has a Champions League, won last year by VfL Wolfsburg, who upset Lyon in the final. South America held a Copa Libertadores Femenina, won by Chile’s Colo Colo. But what about North America? Does the NWSL champion earn the automatic berth? It would be nice to see the U.S. league’s champion — Portland Thorns FC in this inaugural season — have to fight the elements of being on the road in CONCACAF, but it isn’t realistic to think such a tournament could be executed.

And what about Africa, Asia and Oceania? How would those slots be determined?

Fans got a small taste of what a competition like this might look like last November, when the Mobcast Cup International Women’s Club Championship took place in Japan. Japan’s powerhouse INAC Kobe Leonessa finished runners-up to then European champion Lyon, while NTV Beleza of Japan beat Australia’s Canberra United in the third place match.

The Mobcast Cup will once again take place in Japan this November and December, with reports that European champions Wolfsburg, Australian champions Sydney FC and South American champions Colo Colo will participate alongside Japan’s league and cup winners. So, in essence…that’s a lot like a test-run of a Women’s Club World Cup as it is, should all of those teams remain committed.

It would also seem that Japan’s staging of this Mobcast Cup competition would make the country a natural place to test out a proper Women’s Club World Cup, although UEFA’s idea of staging the Women’s Champions League final in the same city and in the same week as the men’s final has proven successful. Japan hosted six of the last eight men’s Club World Cups, but Morrocco will host the tournament this December.

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