FIFA pushes through 32-team Women’s World Cup plan

1 August 2019 | Stadia & Major Events
FIFA pushes through 32-team Women’s World Cup plan
FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, has confirmed that the Women’s World Cup will increase from 24 to 32 teams in 2023.

The move was unanimously approved by the FIFA Council after Gianni Infantino, the governing body’s President, proposed the expansion following the success of this summer’s edition of the international tournament in France.

As a result of the expansion, FIFA has updated the hosting requirements and reopened the bidding process for the competition. Potential hosts now have until December to submit their bids, with FIFA set to make a final decision in May 2020.

A record nine nations have already expressed an interest in staging the 2023 Women’s World Cup, with Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, a joint Korean bid, New Zealand and South Africa all officially entering the bidding process.

“The astounding success of this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France made it very clear that this is the time to keep the momentum going and take concrete steps to foster the growth of women’s football,” said Infantino. “I am glad to see this proposal – the first of several − becoming a reality.

“The expansion reaches far beyond the eight additional participating teams; it means that, from now on, dozens more member associations will organise their women’s football programme knowing they have a realistic chance of qualifying.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup is the most powerful trigger for the professionalisation of the women’s game, but it comes but once every four years and is only the top of a much greater pyramid.

“In the meantime, we all have a duty to do the groundwork and strengthen women’s football development infrastructure across all confederations.”

FIFA’s statement made no mention of prize money, although Infantino has previously stated that he was proposing to double the pot to US$60 million for 2023.

The Women’s World Cup was last expanded in 2015, when a further eight teams were added to bring the field up to 24.

By comparison, the men’s World Cup is set to be increased from 32 to 48 teams in 2026, while a prize pot of US$440 million will be up for grabs at the next edition of the tournament in Qatar in 2022.

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