FIFA announced this week that a unanimous decision was made that the 2023 Women’s World Cup will allow 32 teams to participate. This is equal to the number of teams participating in the Men’s Cup since 1998 and putting the two events on a level playing field.
Women’s Football Growing Undeniably
The great success that the Women’s World Cup had this year in France, as the hosting country, made it clear to all that women’s soccer is growing into a much larger sporting event. The event in France recorded record viewing numbers from all over the globe. It is considered to be the Women’s World Cup which was the most-watched in the history of the tournament. To keep up with the momentum which the competition created, FIFA made the change to allow an expanded version of the match. This was according to Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA. He also mentioned that he is very excited about this becoming a reality for women’s soccer and that this is only the first of many more proposal to enhance the game.
Updates on Hosting Requirements
Currently, eight countries have placed bids on hosting the event, of the nine states which were expected to bid by October this year. These include Australia, Argentina, South Africa, South Korea, Bolivia, New Zealand, Japan and Colombia. These countries, as well as other eligible countries, will receive updates on the new bidding requirements to host the more significant event. Those who have already placed their bids are now allowed to withdraw from the game if they so decide and others can still add their request. The process is due to close again in December this year and then during May, next year FIFA will announce the hosting country for the 2023 event.
FIFA made this decision remotely, and it came ahead of a formal meeting, which is due to take place later this year in Shanghai.
Allowing for Better Opportunities in Women’s Soccer
By expanding the event to 32 teams, many more women will now have the possibility of qualifying to play on the international level. Since the tournament is seen as the top of the pyramid of women’s soccer, being hosted only every four years, it is vital to give all women dedicated to the sport, a fair chance of excelling in it. It will also mean that much smaller clubs will now have a goal to work towards and start to prepare their teams to qualify on an international level. The decision made by FIFA is considered a great stride towards strengthening the future of this sport for women. Since 1991 when only 12 teams were participating, the event has grown to the 24 teams which competed in France. The United States National Women’s Team were the champions this year. Ultimately FIFA is aiming at strengthening not only the desire to achieve but also to develop the much-needed infrastructure to accommodate these events.