Fifa president Gianni Infantino has proposed plans to expand the Women’s World Cup to a 32-team tournament and double its prize money.
Infantino revealed the plans today (Friday) ahead of the final of this year’s World Cup between USA and the Netherlands in Lyon, France on Sunday.
The tournament increased from 16 teams to 24 for the 2011 edition in Canada and further expansion would require Fifa to reopen the bidding process for the 2023 World Cup.
The Fifa Council had been due to award hosting rights for the 2023 tournament in March next year but plans to expand the event could push this decision back. Infantino has proposed doubling the prize money of the Women’s World Cup, with the BBC reporting that the figure would increase from $30m (€26.8m) this year to $60m in 2023.
The 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar will be the last edition to feature 32 teams, with a 48-team tournament planned for the 2026 event, which will be co-hosted by the US, Mexico and Canada.
On the expansion of the women’s tournament, Infantino said: “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 also proposed a Club World Cup for women, which he hopes can start “as soon as possible”.
Infantino said: “It can be played every year to expose clubs all over the world. Clubs would invest even more in women’s football to shine on the world stage.”
A separate women’s World League national team tournament, which would feature a promotion and relegation system, has also been put forward by Infantino.