Australia to host Women’s Football World Cup
Australia and New Zealand will host the 2023 Women's Football World Cup after their joint-bid received the most votes overnight.
The trans-Tasman neighbours beat Colombia to win hosting rights for the showpiece event after all other contenders had dropped out of the race to leave just the two bids remaining.
The successful bid received a technical score of 4.1 points out of five in FIFA's evaluation report and that swayed 22 of the 35 members to vote in favour of the joint hosts over the South Americans.
The event will be the first to be held across two confederations - the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Oceania Football Confederation.
It's a massive victory for football fans Down Under and will ease some of the pain of being dudded out of hosting the 2022 men's tournament, which was given to Qatar amid allegations of corruption at governing body FIFA.
There are 37 FIFA Council members but only 35 voted, as New Zealand's Johanna Wood and Colombia's Ramon Jesurun were ineligible.
The joint bid easily beat Colombia in the end despite reports of it coming down to the wire, with the trans-Tasman neighbours scoring 22 out of 35 votes compared to Colombia's 13.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino thanked all the nations for their "remarkable work" in a "highly competitive" bidding process.
"I am sure we will have the best World Cup ever in Australia and New Zealand," he said.
"It was a difficult decision for me. I love Colombia and I am sure they would have been able to organise a fantastic tournament … but at the end of the day we have to analyse and look at the bids"
He also announced the organisation would spend US$1 billion to develop Women's Football in the years ahead after the successful Women's World Cup in France 2019 "brought women's football to a truly global stage."
Football Federation Australia chairman Chris Nikou said the successful bid was an enormous opportunity to grow football in the region.
"FIFA today has made not one, but two countries very happy," he said.
"We know there is a lot of work to be done. But our pledge to the FIFA family is that no stone will be left unturned to produce the best World Cup and grow the women's game globally and in the Asia- Pacific region."
New Zealand Football Federation president Johanna Wood promised the two nations would work together to deliver a tournament to remember.
"Chris and I and the whole bidding team are extremely delighted with the result," she said. "We've always said with this bid, that it is as one and making history and creating opportunities."
"Chris mentioned when he spoke to council that this is a gift we have been given and we add to that by saying we have been given a treasure," she said.
"We will look after the treasure and make women's football even more front and centre and we will do that as a team."
Fans and players that stayed up late to watch the announcement went wild celebrating, including Matildas Captain Sam Kerr who tweeted a gif of herself flipping across a field.
The announcement sparked cheers and jumps for joy among the Matildas team in Sydney.
The expanded 32-team tournament - eight more than the 2019 edition in France - is expected to open in July 2023.
The winning bid proposed 12 cities with seven in Australia and five in New Zealand. It includes the main stadium used for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
After a successful World Cup last year, FIFA wants the next women's tournament to further establish its independence from the men, and show it is commercially attractive.
At least $100 million is expected to be paid by the governing body in 2023 - for prize money, team preparation costs and to clubs releasing players for the tournament - FIFA president Gianni Infantino pledged last year in France.
Ahead of the bid the Australia-New Zealand team left nothing to chance, with Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern personally hitting the phones in an attempt to secure the tournament.
Ms Ardern and Prime Minister Scott Morrison both featured in the campaign's final presentation, which was seen before the vote.
The Sydney Opera House and Auckland's Sky Tower were lit up on Thursday to celebrate the joint bid.
Australia and New Zealand both have considerable experience when it comes to hosting major international sporting events.
Australia hosted the men's Asian Cup in 2015, with New Zealand hosting the men's under-20 World Cup in the same year.
In addition, Australia has hosted the Summer Olympics twice, in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.
Both countries have recently hosted the men's Rugby World Cup having also jointly organised the first edition of that competition in 1987.
They also jointly staged the 1992 and 2015 Cricket World Cups.
Australia are seventh in the current FIFA women's world rankings, but the Matildas have never been beyond the quarter-finals at the World Cup and lost on penalties to Norway in the last 16 last year.
New Zealand's "Football Ferns" have never been beyond the group stage and in 2023 will be hoping to win a game at the finals for the first time.
- With AAP
Originally published as Australia to host Women's Football World Cup
WE DID IT!— AsOne2023 (@AsOne2023) June 25, 2020
Australia and New Zealand have been granted the honour of hosting the @FIFAWWC 2023!
This landmark decision is a moment for everyone to celebrate #AsOne!
We stand ready to welcome the world and deliver the best ever @FIFAWWC 🇦🇺⚽️🇳🇿 pic.twitter.com/L5zstNwIUP