FIFA officially announced a Women’s Club World Cup will happen for the first time in early 2026. The decision was made regarding the tournament at an annual meeting on Wednesday. The FIFA Council gathered ahead of the 74th FIFA Congress in Thailand to discuss a wide range of topics.

A majority of the meetings, however, surrounded the future of women’s soccer. As a result, FIFA confirmed the 2026-2029 women’s international calendar. A significant piece of this new schedule will include the Women’s Club World Cup.

The men’s version of the competition was initially introduced back in 2000. Interest in the club tournament has not exactly met FIFA’s expectations. Consequently, the sport’s governing body has recently opted to drastically increase the men’s Club World Cup to include 32 total teams. The newly reformatted competition will debut in the United States in 2025.

Women’s Club World Cup to only take place every 4 years

The upcoming Women’s Club World Cup will follow the new suit of the men’s competition and happen every four years. Starting in 2026, the Women’s Club World Cup will also only happen once every four years. Plans are also in place to only allow 16 teams to feature in the women’s tournament.

The 2026 Women’s Club World Cup will feature the best teams from across the globe. UEFA, however, currently has a stronghold on the women’s club rankings. In fact, 22 European teams recently cracked the top 25 coefficient ratings by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). Nevertheless, clubs from South America, North America and Africa all featured in the top 70 of the rankings.

Along with officially scheduling the new tournament, FIFA members made alterations to the women’s calendar. The governing body has reduced the number of annual international windows from six to five. The decision, according to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, will help give players ample rest.

“The Women’s International Match Calendar and the subsequent amendments to our regulations represent an important milestone in our pledge to take the women’s game to the next level by enhancing competitiveness across the world, particularly in those regions where women’s football is less developed and protecting the well-being of the players,” stated Infantino.

Players union unhappy with certain decisions by FIFA

The five women’s international windows will now take place in February-March, April, May-June, October, and November-December. The governing body has avoided scheduling international women’s matches in July and September. Players and coaches previously criticized putting games in these windows.

While FIFA applauded its own move, others are more skeptical. According to a report by The Guardian, player union organization FIFPro previously asked for mandatory rest periods at certain times throughout the new calendar. This request, however, has been denied by FIFA. Instead, the governing body will leave the inclusion of rest periods up to the discretion of each specific confederation and domestic league.

The union also asserts that the Women’s Leagues Forum did not have any say whatsoever in FIFA’s newly updated schedule. The group currently represents top divisions such as the National Women’s Soccer League and Spain’s Liga F.

FIFA’s continued scheduling changes have come under intense backlash in recent months. Both men’s and women’s players have joined together in the fight to reduce their total number of matches. Players on both sides have even recently threatened to sue FIFA regarding an increasingly packed fixture list.