Tuesday, 9 July 2019

FIFA President proposes 32-team Women’s World Cup from 2023

Fifa president Gianni Infantino has proposed plans to expand the Women’s World Cup to a 32-team tournament and double its prize money.

Infantino revealed the plans ahead of the final of this year’s World Cup between USA and the Netherlands in Lyon, France on Sunday.

The tournament increased from 16 teams to 24 for the 2011 edition in Canada and further expansion would require Fifa to reopen the bidding process for the 2023 World Cup.

The Fifa Council had been due to award hosting rights for the 2023 tournament in March next year but plans to expand the event could push this decision back. Infantino has proposed doubling the prize money of the Women’s World Cup, with the BBC reporting that the figure would increase from $30m (€26.8m) this year to $60m in 2023.

The 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar will be the last edition to feature 32 teams, with a 48-team tournament planned for the 2026 event, which will be co-hosted by the US, Mexico and Canada.

On the expansion of the women’s tournament, Infantino said: “We need to do more to make sure that this gap [between Europe and other continents] doesn’t become bigger. We want to channel part of this investment into the grassroots of the game all over the world. We need to invest much more where there is no women’s football, rather than where the women’s game already exists.”

Infantino added that: “It can be played every year to expose clubs all over the world. Clubs would invest even more in women’s football to shine on the world stage.”

A separate women’s World League national team tournament, which would feature a promotion and relegation system, has also been put forward by Infantino.

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