October 17, 2021

Plans for women’s Europa League-style tournament

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A Europa League-style tournament is among the proposals in the European Club Association’s (ECA) first women’s football strategy, which will be released on Monday.

The Women’s Champions League is currently the only European club competition in women’s football.

The men will contest three competitions from next season; the Champions League, the Europa League and the inaugural Europa Conference League.

The ECA, whose members include all of Europe’s biggest clubs, is due to launch the ‘Be a Changemaker’ strategy for the women’s game.

The plan is committed to “driving sustainability within the game, identifying new commercial opportunities and creating new women’s football clubs across Europe”, the ECA said.

The ECA’s new head of women’s football Claire Bloomfield said: “We have a responsibility to explore all opportunities that can help grow the competition landscape, both on a European level with a second-tier competition and then on a much more global scale, with a possible Club World Cup.”

From next season three English teams will qualify for the Champions League in a new format which will feature a group stage and a round of 16 for the first time.

ECA chief executive Charlie Marshall said a women’s Club World Cup would also be set up “fairly soon” with the ECA seeing the tournament as part of its strategy to help develop women’s football.

The men’s Club World Cup has been running since 2000, with winners of major intercontinental competitions playing each other in a knockout format. Bayern Munich are the defending champions.

“The prospect of a Club World Cup, fairly soon in the women’s game, assuming that calendars can be resolved, is a really exciting one and I know FIFA is very keen on it as well,” Marshall told reporters.

“In the women’s game, there is much more potential, much more quickly, to develop global competitive balance.”