Recognising future trends in sports, the World University League is one way FISU keeps innovating. Bringing university sport to more school campuses enhances the student experience. The newest member of FISU events combine the best of games, entertainment and culture.

University World Cup

The University World Cup series compliments other International University Sports Federation (FISU) events like the Universiade and the World University Championships. The mission of these events is to help bring student-athletes into the fold who might not otherwise step onto the international university sports scene. For the first time in FISU history, competitions are organised between university teams rather than having student-athletes compete for national teams.

Back to top

A Sports Innovation Partnership

There is perhaps no better legacy than giving young people a chance to take part in sports among an international community.

Through the University World Cups, FISU’s aim is to increase sports participation through universities and help student-athletes be both today’s stars and tomorrow’s leaders.

This last line is more than a tagline, it is FISU’s guiding principle: in everything the organisation does, keeping the athlete experience at the heart of university sports is the number one priority. We live in a fast-changing world and how we all play sports is constantly evolving, especially for university athletes of today and tomorrow. As the home of university sports, FISU employees’ day-to-day lives revolve around collaborating with global partners to keep innovating for the future of sports.

Back to top

3x3 Basketball: The roots of the University World Cup

With all the sports options out there, why did FISU decide to start the University World Cup concept back in 2015 with 3x3 basketball? That’s easy: 3x3 basketball is where culture, sport and innovation collide.

The University World Cup series is a gateway for new sports and formats to make their way into the Universiade. This allows FISU to experiment with international sport federations to enhance sports delivery and innovation. Already, 3x3 basketball is the most popular urban team sport in the world.

3x3 basketball is a game pretty much everyone can play, anywhere in the world. With teams composed of three players, plus one possible substitute, it is easy to field a team. It is just players playing as no coaching is allowed during a competition.

The simplicity of the 3x3 game stands out: all you need is a hoop, a ball, some team-mates, and a little competition. There is not even a mandatory surface; a tournament can take place on concrete, asphalt or an existing/temporary court. Bringing sport into the centre of university campus life was the goal FISU set out to achieve with University World Cups. The series has delivered.

Back to top

University World Cup - Football

Following the success of bringing together universities worldwide with 3x3 basketball, FISU will launch the University World Cup - Football finals in 2019.

FISU’s newest event begins one year before the finals with continental qualifying tournaments leading up to it. The 16 best men’s teams and eight best women’s teams will qualify for the finals, which will take place in Jinjiang, China.

Known as the South Gate of China, Jinjiang is an ancient-yet-modern city ideally suited to hosting this University World Cup. With 14 competition and training venues, Jinjiang is a city of football.

Also contributing to the event’s success is the FISU and FIFA partnership, which goes back to 1966. Since then, FISU has helped FIFA grow the sport among university students, both with traditional football and by adding futsal to the World University Championship programme in 1984. The University World Cup - Football allows FISU to further grow the beautiful game on the university campus.

Back to top

3x3 Basketball - Finals in 2018

The 2018 edition took place in Xiamen, China from November 15 to 18, when the tournament was still called the 3x3 FISU World University League.

Chinese teams won both the men's and women's competitions thanks to success for Huaqiao University and Tsinghua University respectively.

Huaqiao University beat McGill University of Canada 21-15 in the men’s final, while Tsinghua University defeated Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University of Ukraine 17-14 in the women’s.

Final standings - Men's competition

  1. Huaqiao University (CHN)
  2. McGill University (CAN)
  3. Vytautas Magnus University (LTU)

Final standings - Women's competition

  1. Tsinghua University (CHN)
  2. Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University (UKR)
  3. University of Ljubljana (SLO)

Back to top

3x3 Basketball - Finals in 2017

After four days and seven games, two university 3x3 teams strode to centre court to accept the individual medals and team trophy bestowed upon the victors of the 3x3 FISU World University League finals. The two teams, though, took different paths to the title.

In Xiamen, the winning continued as the Chinese Culture University ran the table from preliminaries to finals. To take the title, the team defeated the University of Regina 21-12 in the final.

Mon-Altius Physical Education Institute, meanwhile, took a more circuitous route to the 2017 men’s title. The Mongolian team lost their first two games in the preliminary pool play before finding their groove in the knock-out rounds. Mon-Altius made an inspired run to the championship, defeating the University of Kragujevac of Serbia 21-17 in the finals.

The International Basketball Federation's then secretary general Patrick Baumann, who tragically died after suffering a heart attack in October 2018, claimed he was "very happy" with FISU’s work in developing the sport of basketball, particularly 3x3.

"It’s very cool," he said.

"We’ve been working on this for about 10 years.

"[FISU] brings together the best teams, with a very high level of competition.

"FISU was very fast to jump on the train to help organise 3x3 since basically the beginning.

"It’s the perfect game for university students.”

Back to top

3x3 Basketball - Finals in 2016

A total of 32 teams - 16 men and 16 women - from 23 countries competed for the medals. When the dust settled on the men’s side, McGill University beat France's University of Bordeaux. The Canadians defended their title, having also beaten the Frenchmen from Bordeaux in 2015.

In the women’s final, another Canadian team, the University of Regina, took the lead early, but Lithuanian Sports University stormed back. With an efficient offense, Lithuanian Sports University reached the top of the podium by winning 21-14.

The event also featured shoot-out and dunk contests, much to the delight of both the crowd and competitors.

The competition had an impressive reach. CCTV broadcast the games daily, while Eurosport also covered the event. Additionally, FISU TV live streamed all the games and contests to a global audience. 

Final standings - Men's competition

  1. McGill University (CAN)
  2. University of Bordeaux (FRA)
  3. University of Kragujevac (SRB)

Final standings - Women's competition

  1. Lithuanian Sports University (LTU)
  2. University of Regina (CAN)
  3. Chinese Culture University (TPE)

Back to top

3x3 Basketball showcases the University World Cup concept in 2015

What started as an idea to bring elite sport events onto the middle of a university campus became a reality when Huaqiao University in Xiamen, China hosted FISU’s first international 3x3 basketball tournament where student athletes competed for their universities instead of their national team.

Dubbed the "World University League" for the first three years, the event proved so successful that FISU grew the programme to include football and changed to the University World Cup in late 2017.

In the inaugural edition of the women’s final, the Chinese Culture University faced off against the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics. Led by China’s Wu Di, who has the distinction of being the first university player in the national team of China, the Chinese Culture University won 21-13.

Women’s League Final 2015

Men's League Final 2015

The men's final, between the Université du Québec à Montréal of Canada and the University of Bordeaux of France, came down to the last play. The Canadian university came out on top with a 17-16 win.

Final standings - Men's competition

  1. Université du Québec à Montréal (CAN)
  2. University of Bordeaux (FRA)
  3. Peking University (CHN)

Final standings - Women's competition

  1. Chinese Culture University (CHN)
  2. Tianjin University of Finance and Economics (TPE)
  3. Monash University (AUS)

Back to top

Want to know more about the FISU University World Cups? Contact us!

The University World Cup Department wants to hear from you! Feel free to pepper us with your questions and comments about the World Cups - and where we’re going with it!

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: FISU - International University Sport