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FIFA Thinks Women’s Soccer Can be a Money Maker

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Sweden's Lina Hurtig celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Mimmi Larsson as Thailand's Natthakarn Chinwong reacts during their Women's World Cup Group F match at Stade de Nice, Nice, France on Sunday. Photo: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

By Evan Weiner |

The governing body of soccer, FIFA, sees a cash cow in the making: The 2023 Women’s World Cup event.

FIFA is expanding the number of teams from 24 to 32 for the 2023 tournament and is requesting the countries that originally bid for the 24 team championship to come up with a new proposal to host the event. There is money to be made from countries, marketing partners and people who might have interest in traveling somewhere to watch the FIFA event. Whether there are 32 capable squads that can play competitively is another question and probably not even in the conversation. FIFA can point to the growing popularity of Women’s World Cup Soccer and talk about how important the growth of women’s soccer is globally. FIFA will be a leader in promoting women’s sports through soccer.

But there is business before pleasure and the business of FIFA is extracting money from host countries to build facilities and sell tickets to clients or rather luxury boxes and club seats to well-heeled customers. Initially nine countries were interested in the 2023 tournament. Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and a joint bid from North Korea and South Korea. Australia and Brazil appear to be ready to adjust their bids. The addition of eight squads in the tournament means host countries have to find more hotel rooms, probably more practice facilities and charge more for marketing partners locally to throw money into the tournament. The initial bids were due in October but because there are now 32 teams in the tournament, the deadline for bid submission will be in December. FIFA will make the decision on the host country in May, 2020 which means that the host country will not have the usual four or five-year period to put together a plan for the tournament. But FIFA sees money.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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