LYON • Fifa president Gianni Infantino said on Friday that he is determined to push ahead with plans to expand the Women's World Cup to 32 teams in time for the next tournament, after hailing France 2019 as "the best ever".
Speaking at a press conference in Lyon, where the World Cup concludes today as holders the United States and the Netherlands contest the final, he claimed that the tournament had been "phenomenal" as he promised huge increases in investment in the women's game and to the prize fund for future competitions.
"There was a 'before' and there will be an 'after' the World Cup, but it is up to us to seize the opportunity and do something about it," he said.
Rolling out a series of proposals for the development of the women's game, he added he would try to expand the competition from 24 teams to 32 in time for the next tournament in 2023.
"I think we should increase the number of participants," said Infantino, who has succeeded in expanding the men's tournament from 32 teams to 48 in time for the 2026 Finals.
"The tricky thing is that we have a World Cup coming in 2023 for which we started just a couple of months ago a bidding process based on 24 teams, so there we will need to act more quickly if we want to have more teams already in 2023."
A decision on who hosts the 2023 Finals will be made next year, with Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Japan, South Africa and New Zealand among the contenders, while the possibility of South Korea co-hosting with North Korea has also been raised.
Infantino also promised to double the prize fund for the next tournament, having initially raised overall contributions from US$15 million (S$20.4 million) to US$50 million in time for this year's month-long competition.
He added that the increase was part of a wider plan to invest a further US$500 million in the women's game to achieve a total of US$1 billion over the next four years.
His five-part plan for the development of the women's game also included establishing a "Women's World League" and creating a Club World Cup for women, which he hopes will start as soon as possible.