FIFA Women’s World Cup will expand to 32 teams in 2023

FIFA Women's World Cup
USA players celebrate with the FIFA Women's World Cup trophy after the game. USA v Netherlands - FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 - Final - Stade de Lyon 07-07-2019 . (Photo by John Walton/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images).

Switzerland (July 31, 2019) — Normally, before the beginning of a new World Cup, a host for the next World Cup should already be decided. That wasn’t the case for the women’s tournament this summer. France hosted an excellent FIFA Women’s World Cup, which resulted in the United States capturing a fourth title.

However, there was no build up to who the next nation to host would be. There are nine bidders vying for the coveted rights to host the tournament. However, the host nation will not be decided until May 2020.

Why?

The FIFA Council waited until the end of this summer’s World Cup to declare that the 2023 tournament will have 32 teams. This past year, the World Cup had 24 teams, with a few nations qualifying for the first time, including Jamaica, South Africa and Chile. According to FIFA, host bidding has no re-opened for interested nations.

Now, there’s room for more first-time World Cup participants. However, aren’t distinctions to how many teams from each federation will qualify. FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that it was “very clear” to add more teams, given the success in France.

“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,” Infantino said. “I am glad to see this proposal — the first of several — becoming a reality.”

Building women’s soccer over the world

Infantino said he hopes that federations see this as an opportunity to invest more in female programs.

“It means that, from now on, dozens more member associations will organize their women’s football program knowing they have a realistic chance of qualifying,” Infantino continued. “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.

Some countries that are attempting to garner a bid have never had a huge focus on the women’s game. For example, Argentina is bidding for the tournament. However, disputes between the federation and players, who fight for equality, have cost players roster spots. Estefani Banini has been vocal and honest about why she did not make the Pan American Games roster.

Meanwhile, Bolivia has never sent a women’s team to the World Cup. They are the only nation to bid without ever having participated in the tournament. South Africa, on the other hand, hosted the men’s tournament in 2010. This past summer, their women’s team made their Women’s World Cup debut.

Brazil, a country rich with soccer history, seemed to dismay the women’s team until a talent like Marta came along. Fans saw Marta pleading with the athletes of Brazil and her own federation to encourage women’s soccer after Brazil lost to France in the Round of 16.

As mentioned, the host nation is expected to be announced in May 2020.

 

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