A big turnaround is about to hit women’s football in Europe based on the proposed strategy of the European Club Association (ECA). The association is planning to expand women’s football in Europe by introducing a tournament that will be structured like the men’s Europa League.
Before now, the only continental competition for women’s football in Europe is the women’s UEFA Champions League. Unlike the men that compete in the Champions League, the Europa League, and the inaugural Europa Conference League, the women don’t have more than one opportunity to play together in the continent.
Hence, the ECA is set to introduce the women’s version of the Europa League that would run like how the men’s Europa League run side by side with the men’s UEFA Champions League. Usually, the men’s Champions League is played on Tuesday and Wednesday while the Europa League is usually played on Thursday.
Also, the ECA has concluded an arrangement to expand the women’s UEFA Champions League by giving the women’s league in England the opportunity to have three clubs in the Champions League.
Based on this and other plans to boost the marketability of women’s football, the women’s Champions League will now have the group stage and the round of 16 just like the men’s version of the competition.
More so, the ECA through its ‘Be a Changemaker’ strategy is advocating for the Women’s World Club Cup competition which will see women’s football clubs across the world compete against each other every season.
Recall that the men’s version of the FIFA Club World Cup has been running so 2000 but the women’s version has never been introduced despite how successful the men’s version has proven to be in the last 20 years.
The ECA believes that the reforms in women’s football would encourage the establishment of more women’s football clubs across Europe, drive sustainability within the game, and identify new commercial opportunities.
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.”
While ECA’s chief executive Charlie Marshall said: “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.”