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FIFA chief Infantino keen to expand Women’s World Cup

The United States and Holland will contest the final of the 2019 tournament in Lyon on Sunday.

Gianni Infantino would like to expand the Women’s World Cup (Andre Penner/AP)
Gianni Infantino would like to expand the Women’s World Cup (Andre Penner/AP)

FIFA president Gianni Infantino wants to expand the 2023 Women’s World Cup from 24 teams to 32.

Australia, Brazil and Japan are among 10 countries that have expressed an interest in staging what would be the ninth edition of the Women’s World Cup, with a decision on the host expected in March 2020.

Speaking to reporters in Lyon ahead of the last two games at France 2019, the head of world football’s governing body said: “I want to expand the tournament to 32 teams.

“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.”

The men’s World Cup has been expanded from 32 to 48 teams from 2026 onwards but Infantino has recently had to admit defeat in his bid to bring this forward by four years to Qatar 2022.

The Swiss-Italian said he would develop the idea as quickly as possible so FIFA’s ruling council and 205 member associations can have their say on the plan.

Infantino also made the customary claim that this World Cup was the “best ever” and said he wanted to press ahead with plans to start a Women’s Club World Cup, too, perhaps even as early as next year.

  • China (1991)
  • Sweden (1995)
  • United States (1999)
  • United States (2003)
  • China (2007)
  • Germany (2011)
  • Canada (2015)
  • France (2019)

“We need a Club World Cup which can be played even every year to expose clubs from all other the world to make clubs invest even more in women’s football to really shine on a world stage which is a real and true Club World Cup,” he said.

Infantino added that FIFA will increase its investment in the women’s game to one billion US dollars (£800m) over the next four-year funding cycle.

Returning to the current tournament, England play Sweden in the third-place play-off on Saturday, with defending champions United States meeting the Netherlands in Sunday’s final.

PA

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