Australia Aims to Follow USA in ‘Building’ FIFA’s Club World Cup
Football Australia’s CEO, James Johnson, believes that Australia has the potential to contribute significantly to the success of FIFA’s new Club World Cup. Australia recently decided not to bid for the 2034 World Cup, but Johnson sees the 32-team Club World Cup, set to debut in the United States in 2025, as a great opportunity to compensate for missing out on the World Cup. Speaking to AFP ahead of the Soccerex conference in Miami, Johnson expressed his excitement about the tournament. With 32 teams playing 64 matches over a month, featuring the world’s biggest clubs competing for the title of Club Football’s World Champion, Johnson finds the event extremely intriguing.
The current Club World Cup comprises only seven clubs from six confederations and has struggled to gain attention. However, Johnson believes that the new tournament, which includes 12 elite European clubs and eight top teams from South America when it launches in the USA, will elevate its prestige once it has made an impact in the United States.
Johnson sees the opportunity for European clubs to compete in a full tournament outside of their traditional markets as a game-changer. He believes that Australia, with its strong market for European clubs and successful track record of filling stadiums and generating broadcast interest, can help build the competition’s reputation. Johnson suggests hosting editions of the Club World Cup in both the United States and Asia, enabling cross-promotion and creating an enticing package for the competition’s first two editions.
While Australia chose not to bid for the 2034 World Cup due to the unexpected timing of the bidding process, Johnson sees the Women’s Asian Cup in 2026 and the Club World Cup in 2029 as better opportunities to maintain momentum in Australian football. By focusing on these tournaments, Australia can leverage the success of the Women’s World Cup and prepare for the Brisbane Olympic Games in 2032. Johnson highlights the growing interest in women’s football in Australia, exemplified by the popularity of the Australian women’s national team, the Matildas. The Matildas have garnered significant sponsorship and broadcast value, surpassing or equaling the men’s team in these aspects. Johnson hopes to capitalize on this success and secure the hosting rights for the Women’s Asian Cup in 2026, which he believes will be the biggest and best edition in history.
With a strategic focus on international tournaments and enabling the growth of women’s football, Australia aims to establish itself as a key player in the global footballing landscape. Johnson’s vision involves maximizing commercial interest and leveraging Australia’s strengths to build the reputation and success of the Club World Cup and other international competitions.