Australia and New Zealand are in with a serious chance to co-host the 2023 Women’s World Cup after FIFA rated their joint bid higher than submissions from other countries.
The only other remaining bids to host the tournament came from Japan and Colombia.
According to FIFA, Australia and New Zealand scored 4.1 points from a maximum of five in a bid evaluation report grading its plan for hosting the tournament. Japan scored 3.9 and Colombia scored 2.8.
All three bidders still qualify for the consideration, with FIFA’s ruling council, a panel of 37 members, set to make a final decision on the host on June 25.
In 2023, the Women’s World Cup will feature 32 teams for the first time.
“The Australia/New Zealand 2023 bid provides a variety of very good options in terms of sporting and general infrastructure,” the evaluation report from FIFA stated.
“It would also appear to present the most commercially favourable proposition, taking into consideration the financial commitments made by the governments of both countries towards the operational costs of the tournament.”
FIFA also said the the joint bid from Australia and New Zealand offers opportunity for “unity and cooperation” and could boost the development of the women’s game across the Asia-Pacific region.
Football Federation of Australia chairman Chris Nikou said it will be a tournament of firsts.
“The first ever co-confederation hosted FIFA World Cup, the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in the Asia-Pacific region, and the first ever to be held in the southern hemisphere… we believe this represents a compelling offer to the global football family,” Nikou said.
“We are two nations from two confederations, united in proposing a historic and exciting step forward for world football.”
Jane Fernandez, the general manager of the ‘As One’ bid campaign for Australia and New Zealand, told the Football Federation Australia podcast recently that hosting the tournament will help accelerate the women’s game.
“We (FFA) have said before that we are committed to reaching fifty-fifty in female and male participation, and that is what this competition is going to allow us to achieve,” she said.
“It is also going to help FIFA achieve some of their main targets – one being 60 million women and girls playing football right across the world by 2026.
“We can help them (FIFA) achieve that, we provide the best opportunity to achieve that goal.”