By Christian Radnedge
LYON, France (Reuters) – FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants to expand the women’s World Cup to 32 teams from 24 for the next edition in 2023 along with doubling the prize money to $60 million (£48 million), he said on Friday.
Ahead of the women’s World Cup final on Sunday between holders the United States and the Netherlands, Infantino said he would take his proposals to the FIFA council and member associations for approval.
“I want to expand the tournament to 32 teams,” the Swiss-Italian told a news conference. “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 hailed the tournament in France as “the best women’s World Cup ever” and said it was an opportunity to build on the game worldwide with a number of proposals.
“(I would like to see) a Club World Cup for women starting as soon as possible next year or the year after,” Infantino added.
“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 in a world stage which is a real and true Club World Cup.”
Infantino also said FIFA would increase its investment in women’s soccer worldwide to $1 billion over the next four-year cycle and spoke of wanting to create an international women’s league, with promotion and relegation, to help the World Cup qualification process.
“Sometimes qualification for the World Cup is just based on one tournament, sometimes not even that … This will ensure we can raise the standard all over the world,” he said.
(Reporting by Christian Radnedge; Editing by Ed Osmond and Alison Williams)