The FIFA Club World Cup is an international men's association football competition organised by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The tournament officially assigns the world title. The competition was first contested in 2000 as the FIFA Club World Championship. It was not held between 2001 and 2004 due to a combination of factors, most importantly the collapse of FIFA's marketing partner International Sport and Leisure. Since 2005, the competition has been held every year, and has been hosted by Brazil, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. The FIFA Club World Cup's prestige is perceived quite differently in different parts of the football world; while it is widely regarded as the most distinguished club level trophy in South America, it struggles to attract interest in most of Europe compared to the UEFA Champions League and commonly lacks recognition as a high-ranking contest.
The first FIFA Club World Championship took place in Brazil in 2000. It ran in parallel with the Intercontinental Cup (also known as European/South American Cup), a competition organised jointly by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL) first disputed in 1960 by the winners of the European Champions' Cup and the Copa Libertadores. In 2005, after the Intercontinental Cup's last edition, that competition was merged with the Club World Cup's pilot edition and renamed the "FIFA Club World Championship". In 2006, the tournament took its current name. As required by the regulations, a representative from FIFA present the winner of the World Cup with the FIFA Club World Cup trophy and with a FIFA World Champions certificate.
The current format of the tournament involves seven teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation over a period of about two weeks; the winners of that year's AFC Champions League (Asia), CAF Champions League (Africa), CONCACAF Champions League (North America), Copa Libertadores (South America), OFC Champions League (Oceania) and UEFA Champions League (Europe), along with the host nation's national champions, participate in a straight knock-out tournament. The host nation's national champions dispute a play-off against the Oceania champions, from which the winner joins the champions of Asia, Africa and North America at the quarter-finals. The quarter-final winners go on to face the European and South American champions, who enter at the semi-final stage, for a place in the final. In Europe the tournament is almost ignored by the mass media, also because of its sporting level, considered inferior to the Intercontinental Cup,indeed when the sides used to meet in a one-off game in Japan (and even before), this was still a fair fight. The opening up of the global market in football has changed the balance. These days the best South Americans (and the stars from all the other continents) are usually playing for the Europeans.
From its formation in 1960 to 1979, the competition was contested over a two legged tie, with a playoff if necessary until 1968, and penalty kicks later. During the 1970s, European participation in the Intercontinental Cup became a running question due to controversial events in the 1969 final, and some European Champions Club' winner teams withdrew. From 1980 until 2004, the competition was contested over a single match held in Japan and sponsored by multinationalautomakerToyota, which offered a secondary trophy (that flanked the original), the Toyota Cup.
Throughout the history of football, various attempts have been made to organize a tournament that identifies "the best club team in the world" – such as the Football World Championship, the Lipton Trophy, the Copa Rio and Pequeña Copa del Mundo - due to FIFA's lack of interest or inability to organize club competitions, – the Intercontinental Cup is considered by FIFA as the predecessor to the FIFA Club World Cup, which was held for the first time in 2000.
^The records of clubs from currently non-existing associations such as Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Yugoslavia are attributed to those federations, since the corresponding titles were won when the clubs were affiliated to those associations.
^- The winners of UEFA Champions League undertake to part in the following competitions:
a) The UEFA Super cup, witch is held at the start of each new season.
b) Intercontinental competitions arranged by UEFA and other confederations.
- Clubs are not authorised to represent UEFA or the UEFA Champions
League without UEFA's prior written approval. cfr. "We care about football - Regulation of the UEFA Champions League 2003/04"(PDF). Union of European Football Associations. p. 2.