Fifa expand Women’s World Cup to 32-team tournament for 2023
Gianni Infantino says move is just one step on road to professionalism of women’s game
Tobin Heath and her USA team-mates celebrate after winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup final against the Netherlands in Lyon. Photograph: Maja Hitij/Getty Images
The 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup will be expanded to a 32-team tournament. The Fifa Council unanimously agreed on Wednesday to a proposal to expand the number of teams taking part from 24 to 32, with immediate effect from the next edition of the tournament.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino said: “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.
“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.”
Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea have bid to stage the 2023 tournament, the latter expressing interest in a joint bid with North Korea.
The publication of the bid evaluation report is expected in April, with the host nation set to be announced the following month.
The United States claimed a record fourth World Cup win in France last month, beating the Netherlands 2-0 in the final.