MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia and New Zealand have joined forces in a bid to host the Women’s World Cup in 2023.
Football Federation Australia and New Zealand Football announced the co-confederation bid on Friday in Melbourne, hours before the official bid book was to be submitted to soccer’s world governing body FIFA in Zurich.
FIFA has plenty of contenders to host the first 32-team Women’s World Cup ahead of the deadline for bid books on Friday.
Other bids are expected from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Japan and South Korea, which could be a joint project with North Korea.
Australia’s star striker Sam Kerr said the women’s game in Asia and Oceania would get a significant boost from the investment and interest generated by hosting a World Cup.
“There is so much untapped potential, not just in Australia but right across Asia and the Pacific region, that I really do believe we would offer something incredibly special,”said Kerr, who scored fives goals in four games as Australia reached the knockout stage of the World Cup in France earlier this year. “I really believe that Australia and New Zealand would be incredible hosts to take the game forward.
“It is also fitting that New Zealand was the Matildas’ first full international opponent 40 years ago and now we are partnering in a bid to host the biggest women’s sporting tournament on the planet.”
Australia and New Zealand were in the Oceania confederation before Australia joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006.
The countries have co-hosted the Rugby World Cup and the Cricket World Cup and each hosted those events solo. Australia hosted the Olympics in Melbourne in 1956 and in Sydney in 2000.
New Zealand international Rosie White played in the under-17 Women’s World Cup when her country hosted it in 2008 and has since been to three senior Women’s World Cups.
”New Zealand would be an amazing host for the World Cup – not only are we a hugely popular destination for tourists, but we know we can put on a show,” White said. ”New Zealanders are fantastic at banding together and getting things done, we are known for being amazing hosts.”
Grant Robertson, New Zealand’s Minister for Sport and Recreation, said the countries “can work as a team to deliver something unique and world class, while also creating a legacy for women and for football in our countries and across Asia and Oceania.”
Soccer administrators in both countries decided a joint bid had more chance of success than going it alone.
“The opportunity to partner, across not just member association boundaries but also confederation boundaries, represents a new level of cooperation for football,” NZF President Johanna Wood said. “The level of cooperation in a short period of time to develop the joint bid submission highlights the excellent way in which the nations would work to host the tournament proper.”
FIFA will conduct inspections of all candidate bids in January and February ahead of a FIFA Council vote expected in May.
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