The football federations of Australia and New Zealand have agreed to bid jointly to host the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the two federations have compiled the relevant documents, completed their bid book, and sent them to football world governing body Fifa’s offices in Zurich. The deadline for submitting the documents is this Friday.
The Football Federation Australia this week abandoned plans for a standalone bid. FFA chairman Chris Nikou hinted last month that it was ready to do so. It is reported that the FFA believed the joint bid was its best chance of winning the votes needed to beat the other two front-runners, Colombia and Japan, and that the expansion of the tournament from 24 to 32 teams was not a factor.
The bid proposes to stage the World Cup final in Sydney, at a newly-renovated 75,000-seater stadium in the Olympic Park. Other Australian venues reportedly named in the bid include Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta and AAMI Park in Melbourne.
The Queensland government has pledged A$11m ($7.5m/€6.8m) towards the bid and wants to host at least two matches, including one knockout match, at the Suncorp Stadium. Tasmania agreed earlier this week to make the UTAS Stadium in Launceton available for games.
The FFA said today that the Tasmanian Government has joined the state governments in Western Australia, Victorian, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia in committing to stage matches.
Five other candidates remain in the running to host the tournament – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, and South Korea. South Korea’s bid potentially includes venues in neighbouring North Korea.
Bolivia dropped out in September following Fifa’s announcement that the tournament would expand to 32 teams. South Africa withdrew from the race on Monday.
Candidates that submit their bidding plans by this Friday will face a full evaluation in January and February next year. The Fifa Council will vote to select the host in May, giving the winning nation a little over three years to prepare for the tournament.