A joint bid from Australia and New Zealand has been awarded the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC), defeating its only rival Colombia on Thursday by a vote of 22 to 13.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced the results of the vote held during an online teleconference due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The joint bid was an overwhelming favorite to get the nod from FIFA after an evaluation report released earlier in the month gave the Oceania project the top average score – far ahead of Colombia that was said to require large amounts of private funding to successfully stage the event.
Prime Ministers Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Scott Morrison of Australia were involved in the presentations to the FIFA Council.
Organizers have planned for the tournament to run from July 10 to August 20 with the opening match at Auckland’s Eden Park and the final at Sydney’s Stadium Australia.
As many as eight venues could host matches in Australia and five have been proposed by New Zealand.
Impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic, two other bids had already dropped from the race earlier in June. Brazil cited economic concerns in the wake of the health crisis for its decision to withdraw.
Earlier this week Japan, previously considered a strong contender to win the bid, bowed out of the race when organizers concluded they could not close the gap on the Australia – New Zealand project. With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed to 2021 amid the pandemic, Japanese officials were aware that the two major events would occur in too short a time frame and could cause concern for FIFA. Additionally due to the coronavirus threat and restricted global travel, sufficient campaigning was not possible.
The 2023 edition of the WWC will be the first to feature an expanded 32 nation format.
France hosted the previous WWC in 2019.