The next FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 will see 32 teams take part in the competition for the first time ever after the FIFA Council unanimously agreed to a proposal to expand the number of countries participating in the competition.
France hosted the last Women’s World Cup which was won by the United States in summer 2019 in what was the first edition of the competition to have 24 teams participating, with the latest expansion in World Cup entrants to take effect in the next edition of the tournament in 2023.
This development was made known by the world football governing body on Wednesday, with FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, attributing the decision by the council to the “astounding success” of France 2019.
“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 Infantino.
He added: “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.”
Infantino went on to state on the governing body’s website: “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,” the FIFA chief concluded.
FIFA on its part stated: “Since the bidding process for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is already underway − with the nine bidders initially expected to submit their bid books by October 4, 2019 – the FIFA Council exceptionally made this decision remotely, and not at one of its meetings.”
The next FIFA Council meeting is scheduled for October 23 and 24 in Shanghai, China, with FIFA adding in its statement: “Having been presented with a background document on the expansion, FIFA’s decision-making body voted in favour of adopting the 32-team format and, as a consequence, updating the hosting requirements and the timeline of the bidding process for 2023.”
It goes on to state: “The FIFA administration will also initiate a consultation process with the confederations in order to develop a proposal for the slot allocation, which will then require approval by the FIFA Council.”
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