CISM World Football CupInitially held annually, and now a biennial event, the World Military Cup is an international football competition for the armed forces. It was first staged in 1946 by the Armed Forces Sports Council, which became the current CISM (International Military Sports Council), in 1948.

Since 1995, the Military World Cup has been incorporated into the Military World Games, held every four years. It’s still a two-yearly event, but only every second tournament is staged independently.

To confuse matters slightly further, the world cup is now named the “Military World Championship” with part of the Military World Games and the “CISM World Football Cup,” in its individual form. Two editions of the CISM World Football Cup have been contested so far, with host nation Oman, winning the last on penalties in 2017. The next will be in 2021, while the Military World Championship is due to take place in China as part of the Military World Games in 2019.

Notably, England won the inaugural Military World Cup, but, not being a member nation of the CISM, has never repeated this feat. The British Army does have its own county football association, however, which has existed since 1888. Games are played between army, navy, air force, and civilian teams.

Getting back to the main subject, the most successful national team over the years, has been Italy with 8 championship titles, 4 runners-up, and 3 third-place positions. Italy’s three nearest rivals are Greece (6 titles), Egypt (5 titles) and France (5 titles).

Germany, eminently successful in FIFA world football, has only won the Military World Cup once, in 1975. However, it has fared better in the women’s competition, having taken four world titles to sit equal top in the tables with Brazil. The World Military Women’s Championship began in 2001 and, like the men’s competition, is incorporated into the Military World Games every 4 years, and is staged independently most years in between.

The military provides plenty of entertainment for lovers of the beautiful game, whether playing or spectating.