Australia/New Zealand Lead Race For 2023 World Cup

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Australia and New Zealand lead the charge to host the 2023 World Cup following bid assessments.

The ninth Women’s World Cup will be held in Summer 2023. FIFA will select the host country on June 25, 2020.

FIFA published its Bid Evaluation Report for the three remaining World Cup countries on Wednesday. Leading the way is the joint submission by Australia and New Zealand, who scored 4.1 out of 5.

New Zealand announced on Monday that they had zero active coronavirus cases. Their selection would be the first World Cup in the Asia-Pacific region.

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“[Australia/New Zealand] present the most commercially favourable proposition, taking into consideration the financial commitments made by the governments of both countries towards the operational costs of the tournament.

“A joint bid, however, can also be a more complex undertaking, since it requires the management of cross-border components for the delivery of the event.”

Close behind is Japan’s submission with a 3.9 out of 5. Japan won the World Cup in 2011, the only country of the three remaining to have done so.

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“[Japan has] well-maintained and professionally managed stadiums that are more than capable of staging elite-level international sporting events.

“The bid also proposes a very compact tournament footprint with excellent general infrastructure, including high-speed intercity connectivity and fairly short distances between the proposed venues”

Finally, Colombia’s submission finished with a score of 2.8 out of 5. If selected, they would be the first South American country to host the Women’s World Cup. 

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“[Colombia] provides a level of infrastructure that meets the minimum requirements but would need a significant amount of investment and support…it is not clear if this level of investment will be available.

“That said, the Colombian Football Association and the Colombian government have shown great commitment.

“It would have a tremendous impact on the development of women’s football locally”

Brazil announced their support for the Colombia bid after withdrawing their own on June 8.

Brazil’s government officially stated their withdrawal was “due to the scenario of economic and fiscal austerity, fueled by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

A bidding process guide determined the respective scores. Technical aspects like site infrastructure and commercial viability constituted 70% of the score. The remaining 30% was based on risk assessment criteria such as human rights and sustainability. In the case of a tied vote on June 25, scores will determine a winner. 

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Regardless of who the host country is, the 2023 World Cup will now feature 32 teams, up from 24, a unanimous decision by FIFA

“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,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

“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.”

Recent events may impact the success of the next World Cup. Brazil’s withdrawal and New Zealand’s report of zero cases are clear signs that countries are aware and thinking about it.

FIFA will announce the winning bid on June 25.

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