Australia and New Zealand win bid to host 2023 Women’s World Cup

Australia and New Zealand have beaten Colombia to win the bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

In the FIFA Council vote, Australia and New Zealand beat Colombia 22-13 to organize the tournament, which is being expanded to 32 teams.

Lynch: how Australia and New Zealand gained the right to host the 2023 World Cup

The 2019 World Cup in France was hailed as a milestone for worldwide interest in the women’s game, with record audiences of 1.2 billion people tuning in during the month-long event.

The final, in which the US women’s national team beat the Netherlands 2-0 to win their fourth World Cup, was the most-watched game of the Women’s World Cup in history, and the President of FIFA Gianni Infantino led the campaign to increase the field to 32 teams from 24 by 2023.

Initially, there were four offers to host the 2023 tournament, but Japan and Brazil withdrew before the final vote, citing the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We did it. We drove him crazy,” Chelsea and Matildas star Sam Kerr said on Twitter after the announcement.

“I am at a loss for words and I want to congratulate Australia and New Zealand on this amazing achievement,” Socceroos legend Tim Cahill tweeted.

Japan’s abandonment was seen as a boost to the joint offer of Australia and New Zealand. However, sources told ESPN on Wednesday that the vote would be closed, with up to 12 undecided votes through Thursday.

The joint offer from Australia and New Zealand was the highest in FIFA’s technical evaluations, while Colombia was the lowest of the three evaluated offers.

The level of infrastructure and business opportunities was highlighted in the report as an advantage to the joint offering, but there were concerns about the logistics of hosting a tournament in the two countries.

“As the first joint offer (and cross-confederation) to host a FIFA Women’s World Cup, it also offers an opportunity for unity and cooperation to drive the development of women’s play across the Asia-Pacific region, which will host the tournament for the first time, “the report said.

“However, a joint bid can also be a more complex task, as it requires cross-border component management for event delivery.”

Colombia met the minimum requirements to host a tournament, but “would need a significant amount of investment and support” before being ready to host the tournament, according to the FIFA report.

The governing body also stated that there would be “clear risks that the necessary improvements would not take place” in time for the tournament.

Neither Australia nor New Zealand have hosted a World Cup. In 2010, Australia attempted to organize the 2022 World Cup, to be held in Qatar, but was eliminated in the first round after receiving only one vote.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern wrote in an open letter to FIFA on Tuesday that the two countries would host a tournament to be proud of.

“A FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand would embody our passion for women’s football and our proud commitment to equality and fairness, creating a deep and lasting legacy for the future of women’s football within and outside the region,” they said in the letter.

Australian soccer has grown in popularity in recent years with many big names from Matildas moving to Europe and the United States. Sam Kerr signed an unprecedented deal for women’s football with Chelsea in January, while Ellie Carpenter recently traded Portland’s thorns for Lyon. The French team is considered the best team in Europe and won the Champions League six times and won its 14th consecutive Division 1 women’s title in May. The team also boasts many of the game’s best players, including Ada Hegerberg, Lucy Bronze, and Eugenie Le Sommer.

The day before the decision, many well-known Australians turned to social media to endorse the offer, while national monuments like the Sydney Opera House were lit up with images of Matildas.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald before the result, former Matilda and FIFA executive committee member Moya Dodd said organizing the World Cup would have a “profound impact” on the sport in Australia.

“Hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup would give us an iconic event around which we can wrap the actions, goals and incentives to make that happen,” she said.

“It would be a catalyst to get us into the FFA [Football Federation Australia] goal of 600,000 Australian women and girls playing soccer by 2027, with better pathways to the W-League and Matildas. “