FIFA has unanimously voted to increase the 2023 World Cup from 24 to 32 teams, passing the decision remotely overnight.
While FIFA would usually have to hold a general meeting to discuss changes such as this, the decision was rushed in with bidding for the 2023 World Cup hosting rights already underway.
The World Cup expansion comes in light of the public and financial success of the 2019 World Cup in France.
It is currently unclear as to the qualification breakdown for the 2023 tournament will be structured across confederations.
“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."
Australia and Japan are the only currently confirmed bidders for the 2023 tournament, with several other nations tipped to enter the running to host the event.