The FIFA council, on Wednesday, agreed to a proposal to expand the number of competing teams 2023 edition of the Women’s World Cup from 24 to 32.
The council took this decision remotely in order to make the bidding process for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup easier.
As a result, the current bidding nations, which includes Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea, have to reconfirm their interest by August 2019 before finalizing their bids by the end of the year. The announcement of the host is tentatively scheduled for May 2020.
The expansion from 24 to 32 teams means that the group stage of the next tournament will have eight pools with four teams each, which is now on par with the men’s World Cup.
The proposal was put forward to the council following the success of the recently-concluded 2019 edition of the Women’s World Cup in France. FIFA’s decision-making body also revealed the updated hosting requirements and the timeline of the bidding process for 2023.
“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. I am glad to see this proposal – the first of several – becoming a reality,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
“The expansion reaches far beyond the eight additional participating teams; it means that, from now on, dozen more member associations will organize 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 professionalization 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,” he concluded.
The USWNT lifted back-to-back Women’s World Cup titles when they beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the final in June. Star players Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle and Julie Ertz, who were quintessential for the USWNT in the tournament, have all been nominated for the Best Women’s Player of 2019 which was also announced by FIFA on Wednesday.