FIFA could expand Women's World Cup to 32 teams & double prize money, says Infantino
The FIFA president said the success of the 2019 edition could lead to an expansion for the next tournament in 2023
FIFA is considering expanding the next Women’s World Cup to 32 teams and doubling the prize money, president Gianni Infantino has said.
The FIFA Council, made up of 37 members, is due to vote on the host for the 2023 tournament next March.
There are already nine countries interested in bidding, including recent men’s World Cup hosts Brazil and South Africa.
Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea are also prospective hosts for the next women’s tournament but Infantino claims the process may have to be restarted to accomodate the potential larger field of teams.
“We will need to act more quickly if we want to have 32 teams already in 2023,” Infantino said.
“We will discuss it as a matter of urgency and see if we can already decide to increase for 2023, in which case we should re-open the bidding process and allow everyone to have a chance to organise or maybe co-host for some of those who have been bidding already for a 24-team World Cup.”
There have already been a number of expansions in the World Cup’s short history. The event started with 12 teams in 1991 and grew to 16 in 1999 and then 24 in 2015.
And the FIFA president says the success of the 2019 edition has proven there is a hunger for a larger tournament in the future.
“Nothing is impossible and based on the success of this World Cup of course we have to believe bigger and to do what we should have done already probably some time ago,” Infantino added.
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“But now we have the evidence to do it for women’s football.”
Infantino also has proposed creating a Club World Cup for women’s football, starting in 2020, citing the need to develop the game at the domestic level, which will trickle up to the international game.
“I would like to propose a Club World Cup for women, starting as soon as possible,” Infantino said. “A real Club World Cup. We can only develop national football if we develop club football as well.
“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.”