Australian and New Zealand football fans were celebrating in the early hours of Friday morning with the news that the FIFA Women’s World Cup will be coming to the two countries in 2023.
The Trans-Tasman tournament will feature 32 teams for the first time, making it the biggest ever, and follows the massive success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 held in France, which FIFA says was watched by one billion viewers. Twenty four teams played in France 2019.
“It will be even more global and have much positive impact on the development of women’s football,” FIFA Council President Gianni Infantino said this morning.
The successful joint bid from Football Federation Australia and New Zealand Football took 22 votes from FIFA Council members compared to Colombia Football Association’s 13 votes.
The Oz/NZ chances were significantly improved earlier this week when Brazil and Japan pulled out of the race.
The Matildas and the NZ Football Ferns will automatically be able to participate in the opening rounds, without needing to win qualifying matches.
Following the announcement, the Matildas tweeted: “We did it! We are hosting the 2023 FIFAWWC!” and then later shared video footage of what was going on as the announcement was made.
Chris Nikou, Football Federation Australia chairman, noted that the succesful joint bid presents a massive opportunity to grow the women’s game globally and in the Asia Pacific region.
Johanna Wood, president of NZ Football Federation, said they are “delighted with the result” and they will use it to make history and create opportunities.
The 2019 final alone, between USA and the Netherlands, was watched by an average live audience of 82,18 million, up by 56 per cent on the 2015 audience.
FIFA says that over the 52 matches played across France, which were broadcast to 205 countries, the average live match pulled in an audience of 17.27 million.
“More than a sporting event, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 was a cultural phenomenon attracting more media attention than ever before and providing a platform for women’s football to flourish in the spotlight. The fact that we broke the 1 billion target just shows the pulling power of the women’s game and the fact that, if we promote and broadcast world-class football widely, whether it’s played by men or women, the fans will always want to watch,” said FIFA President Infantino late last year.
Australian captain Sam Kerr was clearly excited, tweeting this morning:
In 2019, Sam Kerr made history by scoring four goals in their game against Jamaica, making her the third highest scoring individual in any Women’s World Cup game.
Other players including Jenna McCormick, also shared their excitement, having gathered in Sydney together to hear the result.