Football's governing body wants its ruling council to fast-track expansion of the next Women's World Cup to 32 teams.

Fifa has asked council members to approve adding eight more teams within days and without a formal meeting. Agreement would include urgently rebooting the ongoing bid contest to host the 2023 tournament.

Fifa believes the 2019 World Cup, won by the United States in France this month, showed a bigger tournament is commercially possible, and would speed development of the women's game.

President Gianni Infantino set the 32-team target in Paris on July 5, and proposed doubling tournament prize money to $60 million.


"Fifa has a responsibility to ensure its women's competitions not only showcase women's football at the highest level, but also act as a catalyst to grow the game," council members have been told.

Nine Fifa member federations, including New Zealand, are preparing to submit formal plans for a 24-team tournament by October 4.

The others are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Japan, South Africa and South Korea, which could bid with North Korea.

A faster timetable is needed because the 37-member Fifa council next meets in person during October 23-24 in Shanghai.

Fifa now wants to modify the bid process in August by asking the nine federations to reconfirm interest for a 32-team tournament, and inviting other federations to enter. Bids would be submitted in December and a Fifa-run evaluation of the candidates would be published in April.

If council members agree to the expansion by next week, Fifa suggests they would pick the host next May instead of March as previously scheduled.

It is unclear how the extra eight places would be allocated, with Fifa proposing to consult its continental governing bodies.

"Such proposal would be formally approved by the Fifa council at a future meeting," Fifa said.


Fifa is also likely to change the commercial structure of the Women's World Cup, giving it dedicated sponsors.

- AP