World Cup

FIFA approves immediate expansion of Women's World Cup to 32 teams

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 prize money.

Council re-opens bidding to host; no mention of prize money changes

United States' Megan Rapinoe celebrates after winning the women's World Cup. On Wednesday, FIFA approved expansion of the tournament to 32 teams in 2023. (Francisco Seco/The Associated Press)

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 prize money.

FIFA said Wednesday the decision was made remotely.

Nine national associations had expressed interest in hosting and were due to submit their formal bids by Oct. 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 U.S. received $4 million US of a $30 million prize pool for winning the World Cup on July 7, a small percentage of the $38 million from a $400 million 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 $440 million and FIFA President Gianni Infantino said July 5 that he was proposing FIFA double the women's prize money to $60 million for 2023.

WATCH | U.S. wins 4th World Cup title:

Megan Rapinoe scored the game-winner for the United States in the World Cup final to secure their fourth World Cup title in a 2-0 win over the Netherlands. 1:41

After the U.S. 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 organize their women's football program knowing they have a realistic chance of qualifying."

"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, creating a women's world league and doubling FIFA's investment in women's soccer in the next four-year cycle to $1 billion.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.