The FIFA Council has unanimously agreed to a proposal to expand the number of teams taking part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup from 24 to 32. This decision will come into effect as of the next edition of the tournament in 2023.

The Council made this decision remotely as the bidding process for the 2023 Women’s World Cup is already underway. The next Council meeting will take place in Shanghai on 23-24 October.

FIFA’s decision-making body voted in favour of adopting the 32-team format, updating the hosting requirements and the timeline of the bidding process for 2023 after being presented with background information on the expansion.

The circular with a short time period of the new adoption is to be sent by August 2019. Current and other eligible bidding associations must reconfirm their interest in bidding by December 2019.

The Bid Evaluation Report is expected to be publicised by April 2020 and the hosts will be appointed in May 2020.

The FIFA administration will also initiate a consultation process with the confederations in order to develop a proposal approved by the Council for the slot allocation.

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, says that he is glad the proposal is becoming a reality.

“The astounding success of this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France made it very clear that this is the time to keep the momentum going and take concrete steps to foster the growth of women’s football. I am glad to see this proposal, the first of several, is becoming a reality.”

Infantino further says that the FIFA Women’s World Cup is the most powerful trigger for the professionalisation of women soccer.

“The expansion reaches far beyond the eight additional participating teams: 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. The FIFA Women’s World Cup is the most powerful trigger for the professionalisation of the women’s game, but it comes but once every four years and is only the top of a much greater pyramid. In the meantime, we all have a duty to do the groundwork and strengthen women’s football development infrastructure across all confederations.”