Soccer Tournaments List

Soccer Tournaments List

Soccer Tournaments List

In November of 2022, the largest soccer tournament in the world will take place in Qatar. The FIFA World Cup is the pinnacle of international competition, but it's not the only one. Let's learn about the World Cup as well as some of the other major international competitions that take place year to year.

FIFA Tournaments

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is the organization that governs international soccer competitions. It consists of representatives from each country with a FIFA recognized national club. FIFA is also the organization that chooses what nations will host the World Cup. The two most popular tournaments held by FIFA are the:

FIFA World Cup

Organized by FIFA and held every four years at a chosen location, the World Cup is the world's most watched sporting event and determines the international soccer champion. Currently, 32 national teams participate (the host country & 31 qualifiers), but FIFA has approved changing the format to allow 64 participating teams. There is a FIFA sanctioned qualification process separate from the below competitions for the World Cup. In 2018, the competition will be held in Russia. In 2022, the competition will be held in Qatar.

FIFA Club World Cup

The FIFA Club World Cup is a tournament that features the winners of each continental club competition in an international tournament. The winners of each of the six confederations and the host country participate, for a total of seven teams. The first edition of this tournament took place in 2000, and has been held every year since, besides 2001-2004 due to financial constraints.

CONCACAF Tournaments

One of the six continental governing bodies within FIFA is CONCACAF, standing for the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football. Like any FIFA division, they have their own tournaments amongst themselves, some which help determine which countries are eligible for the World Cup. The two largest CONCACAF tournaments are the:

  • CONCACAF Champions League
  • CONCACAF Gold Cup

CONCACAF Champions League

The CONCACAF Champions League is the premier tournament for club teams in the CONCACAF region. Originally founded in 1962 as the CONCACAF Champions Cup, this tournament has the top sixteen club teams in the region compete until there is one winner left. The tournament’s winner is automatically eligible for the FIFA Club World Cup. 

CONCACAF Gold Cup

The CONCACAF Gold Cup is a tournament held every other year between top North American, Central American, and Caribbean National Teams to determine the North American Champion. There has been only one year that the winner of the tournament was not either Mexico or the United States.

UEFA Tournaments

UEFA, short for Union of European Football Associations, is the governing body for continental competitions for both club and international soccer in Europe. UEFA holds multiple tournaments and season-long competitions each year. The top-flight tournament for European national teams is the UEFA European Championship, while the UEFA Champions League is the top-flight club competition in Europe. Read on to learn more about the most popular UEFA tournaments, which are the:

UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions League is a season-long tournament featuring the best club teams from domestic leagues in Europe. The tournament consists of a group stage with 32 teams split into eight groups. These groups of four play each other twice, then the top two teams from each group automatically move on to the knockout stage. The knockout stage progresses from the round of 16 all the way to the finals, with each individual matchup featuring two legs. The final is the only round in which there is only one game played at a neutral site. The winner of the UEFA Champions League is often considered the best club team in the world, as it is the most prestigious club soccer tournament in the world.

UEFA Europa League

The UEFA Europa League is the second-tier season-long tournament in Europe below the UEFA Champions League. The Europa League features clubs that performed well the past season, but not well enough to qualify for the Champions League. The format of the UEFA Europa League is similar to the UEFA Champions League, with 32 teams split into eight groups. The top team in each group moves on to the knockout stage, while the second-place team in each group plays in a playoff with the third-place teams from the Champions League groups to determine who will move on to the knockout stage. Once at the knockout stage, the competition is identical in format to the Champions League up until a champion is crowned.

UEFA European Championship

The UEFA European Championship, also known as the “Euros,” is an international tournament held every four years to determine the European Champion. The UEFA European Championship features the top national teams in Europe. This is a highly competitive and prestigious tournament, attracting millions of viewers around the globe. The tournament is held in between World Cup years.

CAF Tournaments

CAF, short for Confederation of African Football, is the governing body for continental competitions for both club and international soccer in Africa. The largest tournament held by the CAF is the Africa Cup of Nations.

CAF Africa Cup of Nations

The Africa Cup of Nations, popularly referred to as AFCON, is a tournament between top African National Teams to determine the continent’s champion. The tournament has been held every two years since it was founded in 1957, and the winner is automatically eligible for the World Cup. Egypt currently holds the record for most AFCON wins, with 7 total titles.

CONMEBOL Tournaments

CONMEBOL, also known as the South American Football Confederation, is the regional FIFA governing body for the continent of South America and its football teams. With 10 member associations, it is one of the smaller FIFA divisions, but it still has its own set of tournaments and eligibility regulations. The two largest CONMEBOL tournaments are the:

  • CONMEBOL Libertadores
  • CONMEBOL Copa América

CONMEBOL Libertadores

The CONMEBOL Libertadores, also known as the Copa Libertadores, is the highest professional tournament in South American club football. Founded over sixty years ago, the tournament matches four clubs from each country within the CONMEBOL division until there is one winner at the end of the round-robin eliminations. The winner of CONMEBOL Libertadores is automatically eligible for the FIFA Club World Cup.

CONMEBOL Copa América

Copa América is a tournament held every 4 years to determine the greatest team in all of South America, even though teams from outside the region are routinely invited. Founded in 1916, the tournament follows a classic round-robin format until there is one champion of the final match. Uruguay and Argentina are tied for the most Copa América wins, with 15 total titles each.

AFC Tournaments

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the FIFA governing body for soccer in the continent of Asia. The largest tournament held by the Asian Football Confederation is the AFC Asian Cup.

AFC Asian Cup

The AFC Asian Cup is a tournament featuring the top national teams in the continent of Asia. The top 24 teams in Asia compete in the tournament every four years to determine the best national team on the continent. First played in 1956, it is one of the oldest continental competitions in the world.

OFC Tournaments

Made of 11 member associations and two associate clubs, the Oceania Football Confederation is the smallest of FIFA’s six continental divisions. Still, they have their own set of tournaments, the biggest of which is the OFC Champions League.

OFC Champions League

The OFC Champions League is the premier tournament for the OFC division. Founded in 1987, the annual tournament has 18 club teams from across Oceania compete in a round-robin tournament until there is one winner left. The tournament’s winner is automatically eligible for the FIFA Club World Cup.

FAQ

What are the biggest soccer confederations?

The biggest soccer confederation in the world is FIFA. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is the governing body for international soccer. FIFA is further divided into continental confederations. These confederations are the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Confederation of African Football (CAF), and Oceania Football Confederation (AFC).

What is the biggest soccer tournament in the world?

By far, the biggest soccer tournament in the world is the World Cup. Every four years, the FIFA organization throws the largest event in soccer and one of the most popular sporting events in the world. After intense qualifiers, 32 national teams (including the host) compete until there is one winner decided. All matches are televised internationally and draw millions of spectators every year.