“As One” – USWNT to defend their FIFA World Cup title in Australia and New Zealand
FIFA’s announcement on Thursday, 25th June 2020 was historic. Australia and New Zealand will jointly host the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, making it the first time that the tournament will take place in the Southern Hemisphere.
This will be the first time that the competition will be hosted across two of football’s continental confederations – with Australia belonging to the Asia and New Zealand part of Oceania.
This will also be the first time since the 2011 edition that 32 teams will participate, a welcome change from the abridged version of 16 teams.
The tournament will take place in July and August 2023. The two countries from Down Under centred their bidding campaign around the theme “As One”, a reflection of their intent to work together and organise an event of such scale.
The joint bid staved off competition from Colombia, the only other rival in consideration after Japan and Brazil had withdrawn from the race earlier.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino said: “The bidding process was highly competitive. We would like to thank both of the bidders for their remarkable work. It was really, really well prepared.”
The Australia and New Zealand bid received 22 of the 35 votes cast by council members of FIFA, with Colombia receiving the balance. This despite the 9 UEFA members, Europe’s football governing authority – had all voted for Colombia. UEFA said its members voted for Colombia as it “represented a strategic opportunity for the development of women’s football in South America.”
Infantino also announced a massive injection of funds into the development of women’s football.
“We will award $1bn (7563 crore Indian rupees) over the coming four years. We experienced last year in France a fantastic Women’s World Cup. It broke all records. It brought women’s football to a truly global stage.”
Australia and New Zealand’s joint bid promised an “unprecedented level of investment in the tournament.” Australia and New Zealand’s bid received a technical evaluation score of 4.1 out of 5 from FIFA, while Colombia scored 2.8
Chris Nikou, president of Football Federation Australia (FFA) said,”Not only will it be the first ever co-confederation hosted FIFA World Cup and the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in the Asia-Pacific region, but we will unlock the huge potential for growth in women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region.”
The president of New Zealand Football, Johanna Wood, said: “We believe we have been given a treasure, and we will look after that treasure. We will work towards putting women’s football even more front and centre on the world stage.”
Here are some more reactions to the tournament heading Down Under:
“The opportunity to play in a home FIFA Women’s World Cup is something every footballer dreams of and I am looking forward to seeing those dreams come true. Playing for the Matildas in Australia will be the highlight of my career and an opportunity to inspire girls, both in Australia and New Zealand, and all over the world to play football.” – Australia captain Sam Kerr
“I just broke down when I heard. This will be a chance of a lifetime to connect with fans. We barely play any home games – because we are so far away from everywhere else – so this is so epic.”- New Zealand captain Ali Riley
“Might just have to stick around a few more years for this one! This is going to be amazing! Congrats to the AUS and NZ!” – USA midfielder and reigning The Best FIFA Women’s player Megan Rapinoe
The countries have proposed to hold the games in up to 8 venues in Australia:
- Stadium Australia, Sydney (the final), capacity: 70,000
- Sydney Football Stadium, capacity: 42,512
- Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, capacity: 30,052
- Brisbane Stadium, capacity: 52,263
- Perth Rectangular Stadium, capacity: 22,225
- Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide, capacity: 18,435
- Newcastle Stadium, capacity: 25,945
- York Park, Launceston, Tasmania, capacity: 22,065
And five stadiums in New Zealand:
- Eden Park, Auckland (opening game), capacity: 48,276
- Wellington or Sky Stadium, capacity: 39,000
- Christchurch or AMI Stadium, capacity: 22,556
- Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, capacity: 25,111
- Dunedin Stadium, capacity: 28,744