By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, kick442.com Nigeria
Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has allocated four slots to Africa in the next FIFA Women’s World Cup to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The Bureau of the FIFA Council has on Thursday taken several important decisions concerning upcoming FIFA competitions including the FIFA Women’s World Cup as published on www.fifa.com.
Following the amazing success of the 2019 edition, the decision was taken last year to expand the FIFA Women’s World Cup to 32 teams and thus continue to foster the growth of women’s football. FIFA has since worked closely with the confederations to formulate a proposal for the allocation of slots and the Bureau of the FIFA Council has confirmed the following berths for the 2023 edition:
Direct slot allocation (29 of the 32 participation slots)
6 direct slots for the AFC (Asia);
4 direct slots for CAF (Africa);
4 direct slots for Concacaf;
3 direct slots for CONMEBOL;
1 direct slot for the OFC (Oceania); and
11 direct slots for UEFA (Europe).
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 (Asia) and the OFC (Oceania) respectively.
Play-off tournament slot allocation (3)
The three remaining slots will be decided through a ten-team playoff tournament with the following play-off slot allocation:
2 play-off slots for the AFC (Asia);
2 play-off slots for CAF (Africa);
2 play-off slots for Concacaf;
2 play-off slots for CONMEBOL (South America);
1 play-off slot for the OFC (Oceania); and
1 play-off slot for UEFA (Europe).
Play-off tournament format
Four teams will be seeded in the tournament based on the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking before the play-off draw, with a maximum of one-seeded team per confederation.
In Group 1, comprising three teams, seed 1 will play for a place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup against the winners of the knockout game involving the two unseeded teams in the group.
In Group 2, comprising three teams, seed 2 will play for a place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup against the winners of the knockout game involving the two unseeded teams in the group.
In Group 3, comprising four teams, seeds 3 and seed 4 will play against the two unseeded teams in the group, with the two winners then playing for a place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Teams from the same confederation will not be permitted to be drawn in the same group.
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 playoff tournament.
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