A Guide to Football around the World
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Football or soccer as it is known in some countries is the world’s most popular sport. Although Mens football is more widespread, Womens football is gaining in popularity all the time. You never have to miss another game. Check out the VIPLeague football schedule.
The premier international competition is, of course, the World Cup held every four years. Germany are the current champions recently winning their fourth title, now just one behind title leaders Brazil. FIFA also organize the Womens World Cup and Under 20 and Under 17 competitions.
Regional bodies such as UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football), CONMEBOL (Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol, ), CAF (Confederation of African Football ), AFC (Asian Football Confederation ), and OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) are responsible for national football associations and run international and club competitions within that area.
UEFA is perhaps the busiest and most successful with its 54 member associations and leagues having a worldwide following. The main national competition is the UEFA European Football Championship commonly known as the Euros. The current champions are Spain who tie with Germany as the most successful nation with three titles each.
The top club competition is the UEFA Champions League held annually with the winner qualifying for the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
The leagues are the most watched in the world with the English Premier League, Spain’s Primera División (commonly known as La Liga) and the German Fußball-Bundesliga perhaps generating the most interest as well as providing the most successful teams in the Champions League. Italy’s Serie A was considered the best league in the world in the 1990s but recent corruption scandals and other problems have seen a decline in its former glory. The French Ligue 1 has suffered a reputation of being overly defensive and dominated by one team (Olympique Lyonnais) but recently this looks to be improving. Other notable leagues include the Austrian Bundesliga, Belgium’s Juliper Pro League, Croatia’s Prva HNL, Czech Liga, Portugal’s Primeira Liga and the Scottish Premier League.
CONCACAF is the third-most successful FIFA confederation of the six despite being the second smallest one. This is due mainly to the recent success of the US MLS (Major League Soccer) with their star signings such as David Beckham increasing world visibility and sponsorship. Also of note is the Mexican Liga MX regarded as one of the top 20 leagues in the world.
With just 10 member football associations, CONMEBOL has the fewest members of all the confederations in FIFA, although the lack of quantity is made up for in terms of quality. With the powerhouses of football Brazil and Argentina constantly challenged by Chile, Venezuela and Colombia and, of course, Uruguay, winners of the first World Cup in 1930. The international Copa América and club Copa Libertadores are some of the most hotly contested competitions in World Football.
The African game is run by CAF, most importantly the Africa Cup of Nations and the CAF Champions League for clubs. Its 56 members have suffered somewhat from a host of problems including underfunding, corruption, safety issues and top players leaving to play in more lucrative leagues in Europe or Asia.
There has been a huge surge of popularity of football (or soccer) in Asia over recent years which has seen the AFC expand to its current 47 members. Qualification and success at the World Cup by several national teams which was unthinkable even a few years ago has helped fuel a more widespread interest and the joint hosting of the 2002 World Cup by Japan and South Korea was a huge achievement. The top leagues are to be found in Japan, the J1 league; South Korea, the K League; and Saudi Professional League, although China and several other countries are actively and aggressively trying to improve and expand their leagues. The national team competition the Asian Cup and club AFC Champions League have also seen an increased following.
History has shown us that while the top countries, clubs or teams; formations, playing styles or training techniques may change, the passion that football generates endures and grows. From club to national team, mens to womens, friendlies to finals you can see it all at vipbox football.