The world football governing boss revealed that African representation at the women’s showpiece in 2023 could rise to six teams
Fifa has approved up to six slots to Africa in the 2023 Women’s World Cup to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The development is coming after the expansion of the global showpiece to a 32-team competition, allowing eight additional participating teams.
Following Thursday’s ratification by Fifa, Africa will get one additional automatic slot (when compared to the 24-team competition), that means four teams. This will take effect for the 2023 edition where two more can qualify.
The new 32-team competition has 29 direct slots and three other slots will be decided through a playoff tournament between 10 teams, with two countries from Africa to also battle for tickets. If these two do qualify then Africa will have six participants in total.
Besides Africa, Uefa got 11, Asia claimed six, Concacaf earned four, while Conmebol and OFC bagged three and one respectively.
For the playoff tournament, two slots each went to Asia, Africa, Concacaf and Conmebol, while Uefa and OFC got one each.
“The two host countries, Australia and New Zealand, will automatically qualify for the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023, and their slots have been taken directly from the quotas allocated to their confederations, namely the AFC and the OFC respectively,” Fifa announced in a statement.
According to Fifa, the 10-team playoff tournament will be held in Australia and New Zealand as part of a World Cup preparatory event, with all participating teams to play at least two matches.
“Teams from the same confederation will not be permitted to be drawn in the same group,” Fifa added.
“The play-off tournament will be used as a test event in Australia and New Zealand for the Fifa Women’s World Cup, and both hosts will be invited to participate in friendly matches against the teams in Group 1 and Group 2, thereby ensuring that all teams play two matches during the play-off tournament.”
The qualifying matches are expected to start in 2021 and end in 2022 but no details have been released yet in Africa, following the scrapping of the 2020 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Women’s World Cup will be held from 10 July – 20 August, 2023, with the USA being the defending champions.