By Liam Morgan |
FIFA President Gianni Infantino is hoping to bring his preference for expansion to the Women’s World Cup as he claimed he wants the 2023 tournament to grow from 24 teams to 32.
Infantino said he would put the proposal to the FIFA Council and member associations for approval but warned the global governing body would have to “act quickly”.
The bidding process for the 2023 World Cup may have to be re-opened, Infantino said, to accommodate the possibility of an extra eight teams.
FIFA received nine bids for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, including a joint candidature from North and South Korea.
The FIFA Council is due to select the host at its meeting in March 2020.
The suggestion came as part of a five-point plan from Infantino as FIFA attempts to capitalise on the success of this year’s World Cup in France.
Infantino said the tournament prize money for 2023 would likely be doubled from the $30 million on offer at the 2019 edition to $60 million.
The figure is still considerably less than the $400 million prize pot for the 2018 men’s competition, where winners France pocketed $38 million.
The $30 million available at this year’s Women’s World Cup was also doubled from $15 million in 2015.
The FIFA President raised the possibility of creating a Women’s Club World Cup and Nations League for national sides, which would use a similar format to the one used by UEFA in the men’s game.
“It’s a great thing, this World Cup, but then people forget, they do other things ‒ it is our job to make sure that they don’t forget and we don’t just say ‘see you in four years,'” Infantino said.
“That’s why I propose to the FIFA Council and to all our members ‒ who have to embrace the development of women’s football.
“We have already more than doubled the prize money for the World Cup this year, but we will double it again for the next World Cup ‒ I am very confident that we can do that.
“We will have to act quickly to decide if we are to increase it for 2023.
“If we do, we should reopen the bidding process to allow everyone to have a chance or maybe co-host.
“Nothing is impossible.”
Infantino has already overseen the expansion of the men’s World Cup from 32 to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The FIFA President failed with an attempt to grow the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 nations because of diplomatic tension in the Gulf.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.
I might ask if the world of women’s soccer is ready for the expansion. I look at the group standings of the 2019 World Cup and I see Jamaica 0-3 with a goal differential of -11, and Thailand who was 0-3 with a goal differential of -19. They were obviously not on the same playing level as the rest of the teams. They qualified for this tournament, which means they were better than somebody. To add more teams means you will be adding worse teams than Jamaica and Thailand. College football has been said to be pointless to watch until the Bowl games, where good teams finally play each other. Early season blowouts do not help NCAA football fan support or TV ratings. I don’t think that adding teams that are not able to compete now would be worth while for the growth of the sport. Maybe later on, when the Thailands of the world are not losing 13-0, can expansion be reconsidered.