The FFA and the federal government announced this week that Australia will launch a bid to stage the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and FFA Chairman Steven Lowy fronted a joint press conference at which the PM said that he was “delighted we are supporting a bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
“The Matildas are wonderful role models for young women and girls right across Australia. It would be fantastic to have the Matildas playing to win the Women’s World Cup on home soil,” he said.
Mr Lowy recognised the impact of the event,”This is the largest, most prestigious and most competitive contest in a women’s sport globally.
“We want to win the right to host it and then win the tournament itself,” he said.
The Matildas are ranked eighth in the world, and have reached the past two World Cup quarter-finals. It is believed the announcement comes after six months of negotiations between the FFA board and the government, who will provide an initial $1m towards the bid, followed by an additional $4m in December if it is satisfied the bid has a reasonable chance of being successful.
The government’s cautious approach is understandable given the controversy surrounding Australia’s failed bid to host the 2022 Men’s World Cup, which cost $46m.
Several other countries have expressed an interest in staging the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The strongest appears to be Japan which is historically a strong supporter of women’s football. Other nations interested in bidding are Colombia, New Zealand, Thailand, and South Korea.
The rapidly-growing 24-team tournament was last held in Canada in 2015, and drew 1.35 million fans and a global TV audience of 764 million.
It has been 10 years since the Women’s World Cup was staged in an AFC-member country.
FIFA will decide on the host by early 2019 ahead of the 2019 Women’s World Cup tournament in France, with bids due in late 2018.