World Club Championship - A new frontier for Canberra United

The Westfield W-League will have its first ever team play in an international club tournament following the invitation of Canberra United to participate in the inaugural International Women’s Club Championship 2012 in Japan this November.

The Westfield W-League will have its first ever team play in an international club tournament following the invitation of Canberra United to participate in the inaugural International Women-s Club Championship 2012 in Japan this November. Following their undefeated season in the Westfield W-League 2011/12 Season, which saw the ‘Green Team- beat Brisbane Roar 3-2 in the Grand Final in front of a sold-out crowd at McKellar Park, Canberra United will depart for Japan on November 20 to compete in the four club tournament. The tournament will consist of the Champions of Australia Canberra United, UEFA Champions League winners Olympique Lyonnais and two teams from Japan including the winner of the Plenus Nadeshiko League 2012 and the Plenus Nadeshiko League Cup 2012.

“As the Westfield W-League Champions, Canberra United is delighted to be the first Australian club to accept an invitation from the JFA to participate in the inaugural International Women-s Club Championship,” Capital Football CEO Heather Reid said. “Japan is setting the pace for international club football following their success at the FIFA Women-s World Cup last year in Germany. To be able to play against their top two clubs will be a terrific experience for us with the added bonus of a game against European champions Lyon. The support given by the FFA, particularly in rescheduling our Round 6 fixture against Perth Glory is very much appreciated.”

To ensure that Canberra United will be available to compete with their full squad Football Federation Australia have rescheduled the clubs- Round 6 fixture against Perth Glory to Wednesday, 5 December 2012. “It-s fantastic to see women-s football take another stride in the evolution of Australian sport,” Head of Westfield W-League Damien de Bohun said. “The inclusion of Canberra United in the Women-s World Club Championship is a fantastic opportunity for a group of outstanding young professional athletes and we look forward to following their progress on the world stage in this tournament. On behalf of the FFA I-d like to acknowledge the Japan Football Association for the invitation to enter this exciting new competition for women-s football and Perth Glory for accommodating the requested fixture rescheduling.”

United will take a team of twenty players and seven staff to the competition in which they will play two matches with a free draw to create the semi-final fixtures, the winners moving on to compete in the Final with the vanquished playing off for third and fourth position. The Canberra team may well have a slightly unfamiliar feel to it though as the trip coincides with the Matildas tour to Hong Kong meaning that some of their regular players may well be missing giving further opportunity to the squad to stake a claim for game time upon their return. There-s no doubt though that given the chance the squad has enough ability to give this competition a good go. The experience is sure to stand the team in good stead as well especially considering that upon their return they will face the prospect of an away match with Sydney FC followed by three home matches as the Westfield W-League reaches the business end of the season.

One of United-s potential opponents in the competition is current UEFA Women-s Champions League holders Olympique Lyonnias (or Lyon as they are more commonly known). The French giants, who are ten times winners of their own National League, have won the UEFA Women-s Champions League for the past two seasons. In 2012/11 Wendie Renard and substitute Lara Dickenmann scored as Lyon beat Potsdam 2-0 for France's first title at Craven Cottage, home of English Premier League club, Fulham FC. Twelve months later Lyon repeated the feat with another 2-0 success, this time against Frankfurt with a Eugénie Le Sommer penalty and Camille Abily volley in front of another best attendance set in Germany, a mammoth 50,212 at Munich's Olympiastadion. As well as their European double, Lyon have also won five French Cups and have been runner-s-up in the Champions League in the 2009/10 season. Lyon hosts its matches at the Plaine des Jeux de Gerland, a 2,500-capacity stadium that is situated not far from the Stade de Gerland, where the male sections plays. The women's team does host its big matches at the 41,044-seat stadium. The president of the club is Paul Piemontese and the captain of the team is French international Laura Georges. According to the UEFA women's coefficient, Lyon are the highest-ranked club in UEFA.

The identity of the two Japanese teams was not yet known at the time of publication but with Japan being the current holders of the FIFA World Cup we can expect both teams to be technically adept and sure to provide a telling challenge to the Westfield W-League champions. It-s a ground breaking adventure and Canberra are proud to be a part.