50 days until the Women’s World Cup

With International squads beginning to be announced, the Women’s World Cup 2023 is veering ever closer. 

There are only 50 days until kick off in Auckland on 20th July. 

The tournament is set to be the most watched and highest attended in history. Ticket sales have been targeted 1.5m and currently over 850,000 tickets have already been sold.

With the sport constantly growing and gaining new fans, it will come as no surprise that the global viewing figures are also expected to rise. In 2019, they were recorded at 1.12 billion and a new record of over 2 billion is expected to be set this summer. 


Matches have already moved stadiums, due to fan demand. One of the opening matches of the tournament – Australia v Republic of Ireland – was originally due to be played at Sydney Football Stadium, which has a capacity of 45,500. Now it is going to be played at a stadium with a capacity of 83,500; Stadium Australia. 


Here are five talking points ahead of the record breaking tournament.

Potential Blackout

FIFA warned on the 2nd May that there could be a potential blackout in parts of Europe during the Women’s World Cup, in the summer. 

It is unless broadcasters improve their ‘unacceptable’ offers for the rights. If there is no improvement in offers, the blackout is expected to happen in Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. 

Speaking at a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva, Gianni Infantino described the bids placed for the rights as a “slap in the face” of all players and “all women worldwide”.

He also mentioned that, “it is our moral and legal obligation not to undersell the Fifa Women’s World Cup.”


The offers from broadcasters in Europe sat at around 20 to 100 times lower than what they offered for the rights of the Men’s World Cup in December. One of the arguments presented for the difference is time-zone difference. With the tournament being held in Australia and New Zealand, the matches are sat outside prime-time viewing hours for European markets. However, Infantino had disregarded this by saying it was ‘no excuse, given that many games would kick off at 9am or 10am – in Europe.

Prize fund

The prize fund for the 9th edition of the tournament has been increased by 300%, since the previous edition. In 2019, the winners of the tournament – USA – received $4m in prize money, with a total of $30m bing split among

During the FIFA Congress in March 2023, President Infantino announced that the prize pool this time around would be $110m, with the winners receiving around $12m.

There is an additional $40m available for team preparation money and for clubs who release players. 

Speaking on the matter, Infatino also said, “Women deserve so much, much more than that and we are there to fight for them and with them.”

It also announced FIFA’s intentions for equal prize money by the 2027 Women’s World Cup. 

For the 2022 Men’s World Cup, the prize pool sat at $440m, and is expected to rise for the next edition in 2026.

Rejected 26 man squads – ACL’s

In December, it was announced that FIFA had rejected requests for 26-player squads at the World Cup in the summer. 

The measure was originally brought in for the European Championship’s in 2020 and 2022, while football was still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. It was also kept in place for the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

England Women’s manager Sarina Weigman backed the idea along with her German equivalent Maria Voss-Tecklenburg. They also discussed the proposal with other international coaches at the World Cup Finals Draw in October, which saw a number of them also agreeing in backing the idea. 

It has been seen as a controversial move as players are entering their 3rd consecutive summer tournament with another two still to come. This places a lot of stress on the players, and doesn’t provide them with sufficient time to fully recover from the season, which is getting increasingly demanding year on year. 

As a result of this, more players are suffering injuries and the occurrence of more severe injuries are also becoming more prevalent. There have been multiple times during this season where teams in the Women’s Super League have had a severely depleted bench, with only three or four players available as substitutes.

One of the main talking points within women’s football at the moment, and particularly surrounding this topic is, is ACL injuries. They have become more prevalent as the game has grown, and there were 57 of them sustained in 2022, across the professional women’s game. 

There have already been over 20 sustained injuries, so far this year, as well as a host of other, specifically, knee injuries, which have sidelined players for weeks, if not months.

Just weeks before this rejection, FIFA announced that they were introducing a Nations League into the Women’s game, with the first games starting in September 2023. 

There was a mixed response about this from fans, with some saying, ‘it is needed to help grow the game’ and some saying, ‘it is the wrong time for it’. 

The first games of the Nations League are the 22nd and 26th September, with the WSL starting on the 29th September, which leaves little turnaround and recovery time for players.

So with players experiencing a lot of injuries, there are questions arising around whether now is the right time for them to return to taking 23 player squads to major tournaments.

No white shorts in Nike Kits

For the first time in World Cup history, Nike have revealed kits which feature a decreased amount of white shorts. Out of the 56 kits released, only a few kits feature white shorts.

This change stems from fears among players about playing on their periods and worries about ‘leaking through their shorts’. The kits now feature shorts in more prominent colours, like red, blue and green.

This kit change alleviates players’ longstanding concerns about wearing white during their periods and comes in response to an unofficial campaign on the part of senior Lioness squad members, perhaps most notably the striker Beth Mead.

Mead talked to Nike, England’s kit manufacturer, about the problem during last summer’s European Championship in England. “It’s very nice to have an all-white kit, but sometimes it’s not practical when it’s that time of the month,” said the Arsenal striker, who is recovering from a serious knee injury. “We deal with it [menstruation] as best as we can but we discussed the shorts issue together as a team and fed our views through to Nike.”

Having shorts a different colour to white started to occur across lower league, domestic clubs like West Brom Women and Stoke City Ladies. The first WSL side to follow suit was Manchester City, who swapped their home kit shorts to maroon, in November and said “Starting from the 2023/24 season, we will not be providing white shorts to our female athletes. We will always provide an alternative for our home, away and third kits to solve the issue highlighted by women across all sports.”

The kit has also been revolutionary in the fact that it has new material and innovation mapped to a woman’s specific movements.  

Nike have revealed that they are providing teams with ‘leakproof’ shorts that can be worn under their match kit, or training kit. 

32 team tournament from 24 – 7 teams making their debut

The ninth edition of the tournament is the first to feature 32 teams, increased from 24. The expansion of the tournament is a reflection of an expansion of the sport as a whole.

This means that there are eight teams making their World Cup debut, in the summer. These teams are; Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Vietnam, Philippines, Haiti, Panama, Zambia and Morocco. 

Ranked 77th in the World, Zambia are the lowest ranked team in the tournament. Denmark are making their first appearance for 16 years, despite making the Euro’s. 

Having appeared at the previous eight tournaments, seven teams are ever- present; Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden, United States.

England are making their sixth appearance, and hoping for it to be their best. In 2015, they came third, which was followed four years later by a devastating exit in the semi-final, to eventual winners USA.

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