Sat | Oct 24, 2020

FIFA expands Women’s World Cup

Published:Thursday | August 1, 2019 | 12:29 AM
USA players hold the trophy as they celebrate their victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final in Decines, outside Lyon, France,  on Sunday, July 7.
USA players hold the trophy as they celebrate their victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final in Decines, outside Lyon, France, on Sunday, July 7.

(AP):

FIFA’s Council has unanimously approved expanding the Women’s World Cup from 24 teams to 32 for 2023 and has reopened bidding to host the tournament but made no mention of changing theprize money.

FIFA said yesterday the decision was made remotely.

Nine national associations had expressed interest in hosting and were due to submit their formal bids by October 4: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea, which could bid jointly with North Korea.

Under the new timetable, any national association has until December to make a bid. FIFA expects a bid evaluation report next April and a decision the following month.

FIFA’s statement made no mention of prize money. The US received US$4 million (roughly J$543 million) of a US$30 million (J$4 billion) prize pool for winning the World Cup on July 7, a small percentage of the US$38 million (J$5.1 billion) from a US$400 million (over J$54 billion) pool that France got for winning the 2018 men’s World Cup. FIFA has increased prize money for the 2022 men’s World Cup to US$440 million (almost J$60 billion) and FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on July 5 that he was proposing FIFA double the women’s prize money to US$60 million (over $J8 billion) for 2023.

After the US won the women’s final in Lyon, France, fans in the stadium chanted “Equal Pay!”

Infantino said in a statement that “this is the time to keep the momentum going and take concrete steps to foster the growth of women’s football” and “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.”

Strengthening Women’s football development

“We have a duty to do the groundwork and strengthen women’s football development infrastructure across all confederations,” he said.

The Women’s World Cup started with 12 teams in 1991, expanded to 16 in 1999 and 24 in 2015.The men’s World Cup was played with 13-16 teams from 1930-78, 24 from 1982-94 and has been contested with 32 since. It is due to expand to 48 in 2026, when the tournament is co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Infantino also has proposed a Women’s Club World Cup and creating a women’s world league. FIFA is also doubling the funding being made available to women’s football in the next four-year cycle to US$1 billion (J$136 billion).