The Confederations Cup: Does it Mean Anything?

Every four years, a year before the World Cup, the Confederations Cup takes place. This tournament, formed in 1992, has 8 participants. They include the hosts, the World Cup holders, and the winners of each continental trophy (Europe, Asia, Africa, North & Central America, South America, and Oceana). Judging from this list of teams, you would expect the winner of the Confederations Cup to be the best in the world. After all, the best from each continent plus the World Cup holders are facing each other. Sadly for the winners, football does not work according to logic.

None of the five previous Confederation Cup winners – Brazil, France, Mexico, Denmark, and Argentina – will go on to win the next World Cup, the ultimate prize in football. So what is the point of such an extra tournament? Originally named the King Fahd Cup and held in Saudi Arabia, FIFA took over the competition in 1997 and renamed it. Among the new rules that were set, the Confederation hosts would also be the World Cup hosts. A reason for setting up this contest was to give the host nation a taste of high level competition prior to hosting the World Cup, rather than preparing through friendly matches. Therefore, it can be seen as a precursor to the World Cup the following year in addition to testing a nation’s readiness to host the “Biggest Show on Earth”. The Confederation can also be economically beneficial to the host nation, as it attracts spectators from around the world, a boost to the tourism industry. Furthermore, it fills the gap between big international summer tournaments (World Cup, Euros etc.).       

Despite the criticisms that the Confederations Cup has faced, the majority have enjoyed watching this tournament. To some, it may just be an extra tournament (indeed it does have a smaller audience than the World Cup), but to most of us, it is another summer of entertainment!

By: Meriwan Rashid