Hayley Raso (right) takes a shot. Credit: Christof Koepsel/Getty Images.

In a decision which will excite some and infuriate others, the FIFA Council has unanimously approved the expansion of the #FIFAWWC from 24 to 32 teams. The changes come into effect in 2023.

Each of the bidding nations will now be required to reconfirm their bid, and other eligible member associations invited to express interest.

Key dates of the bidding process:

  • 15 March 2019: Expressions of interest
  • 16 April 2019: Submission of completed bidding registrations
  • August 2019: Current bidding member associations to reconfirm their interest, and any other eligible member associations to express their interest in bidding
  • December 2019: New deadline to submit the completed bidding registration
  • April 2020: Bid evaluation reports published
  • May 2020: Expected appointment date of the host(s) by the FIFA Council

The next Women’s World Cup will now feature eight groups of four teams, a significant change from just eight years ago, with the 2011 World Cup featuring just four groups of four teams.

“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 − becoming a reality,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

“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.”

How the extra spots will be allocated across various confederations is yet to be decided.

Previously, the following nations had expressed interest: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea (interest in a joint bid with North Korea).