The first FIFA Club World Championship took place in Brazil in 2000. It ran in parallel with the Intercontinental Cup (also known as European/South American Cup), a competition organised jointly by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL) first disputed in 1960 by the winners of the European Champions' Cup and the Copa Libertadores. In 2005, after the Intercontinental Cup's last edition, that competition was merged with the Club World Cup's pilot edition and renamed the "FIFA Club World Championship". In 2006, the tournament took its current name. As required by the regulations, a representative from FIFA present the winner of the World Cup with the FIFA Club World Cup trophy and with a FIFA World Champions certificate.
The current format of the tournament involves seven teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation over a period of about two weeks; the winners of that year's AFC Champions League (Asia), CAF Champions League (Africa), CONCACAF Champions League (North America), Copa Libertadores (South America), OFC Champions League (Oceania) and UEFA Champions League (Europe), along with the host nation's national champions, participate in a straight knock-out tournament. The host nation's national champions dispute a play-off against the Oceania champions, from which the winner joins the champions of Asia, Africa and North America at the quarter-finals. The quarter-final winners go on to face the European and South American champions, who enter at the semi-final stage, for a place in the final.
The current champions are Spain's Real Madrid, who defeated Brazil's Grêmio 1–0 in the final of the 2017 edition, to win a shared record third title in the competition and to become the first successful defending champions in the tournament's history.
The first club tournament to be billed as the "Football World Championship" was held in 1887, in which Scottish Cup champions Hibernian defeated English FA Cup semi-finalists Preston North End. According to FIFA, the first attempt at creating a global club football tournament was in 1909, 21 years before the first FIFA World Cup. The Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy was held in Italy in 1909 and 1911, and contested by English, Italian, German and Swiss clubs. It was won by English amateur side West Auckland on both occasions.
The idea that FIFA should organise international club competitions dates from the beginning of the 1950s. In 1951, FIFA President Jules Rimet was asked about FIFA's involvement in the Copa Rio, and stated that it was not under FIFA's jurisdiction since it was organised and sponsored by the Brazilian Football Confederation (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol; CBF). The competition was succeeded by another tournament, named Torneio Octogonal Rivadavia Corrêa Meyer, which was won by Vasco da Gama. This tournament had five Brazilian sides, and three foreign clubs, thus, losing half of its intercontinental aspect. In December 2007, FIFA turned down Palmeiras' request to recognise the tournament as a Club World Cup since the participants were limited to two continents.