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Former USA coach Ellis ‘open’ to idea of World Cup every two years

Paris (AFP) – USA women’s World Cup-winning coach Jill Ellis said Sunday she would be “open to everything” when asked if playing football’s landmark tournament every two years was a good idea.

Ellis, who coached the United States to back-to-back World Cup triumphs in 2015 and 2019, has been appointed by FIFA to lead its technical advisory group on the future of the women’s game.

She was speaking after former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger — himself now in a development role with world football’s governing body — last week controversially called for the World Cup to be staged more frequently in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe.

Wenger’s comments appeared to be aimed principally at the men’s game, while women’s football is more dependent on the spotlight and financial rewards provided by the World Cup.

“From a personal perspective I have seen the benefits of a World Cup in terms of spurring growth in our sport,” Ellis told reporters.

“I have heard the conversation for a few years now about a biennial World Cup. Right now what I would say is I am open to everything, every initiative and perspective that can grow the landscape, so would that be under consideration? Certainly.”

The 54-year-old Ellis, who was born in England, stepped down as USA coach after the 2019 World Cup to be replaced by Vlatko Andonovski.

Ellis added: “World championships are just massive focus points in terms of elevating our game, not just in terms of the economic driver of sponsors coming to the table, but I think participation probably increases too after these events.

“There are a lot of reasons for us to dig into it.”

The next women’s World Cup will be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

It will be the first 32-team women’s World Cup, up from the 24 nations who competed at the last tournament.

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