FIFA President Gianni Infantino will ask members of his executive council to approve a new global women’s league this week. The move is aimed to increase the visibility, appeal, and reach of women’s football.
The competition, mooted for as early as November 2019 will feature 16 of the world’s top women’s national teams. The teams will be divided into 4 groups and play in ‘mini tournaments’ before the winners face off in semi-finals and finals, states a New York Times report.
FIFA also plans to add four regional women’s leagues to encourage the development of women’s football globally and to allow the best performers from those regions a chance to win promotion to the top division in a system of promotion and relegation.
In order to avoid a clash of schedule with other international tournaments, the top teams of the proposed league would play only in November. The smaller regional leagues also would play matches in a spring window.
The idea behind the new women’s format is to accelerate the growing interest in the women’s game and give countries that have not had a chance to host a FIFA-event the opportunity to hold one.
The skeptics, however, believe that the move is aimed to boost Infantino’s standing before his bid for re-election next year. Infantino, preparing his run for the second term, had also advocated the same idea during 2015 campaign for FIFA presidency.
“We are also thinking of creating a world women’s football league so that all federations can participate, because we should not lose sight of the fact that 50 percent of the world’s population is female,” Infantino said at the meeting in Mauritania, acco.
FIFA, with a renewed focus on women soccer, had earlier expanded the Women’s World Cup to 24 teams in 2015, offering opportunities to more national teams but also exposing the wide gap between established powers like Germany and newcomers like Ivory Coast.