The Australian government has pledged to provide AUS$4 million (US$3.1 million) to the country’s bid to host the Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2023.
The government already contributed AUS$1 million (US$790,000) last June to initiate a first phase of bid development and feasibility assessment, and has now upped its contribution as the bid enters its formal phase.
The further funding will be used to support the appointment of a bid team responsible for the delivery of the final submission to Fifa. So far, bid working groups have been established in all Australian states and territories to research the tournament requirements.
Australia will hope to benefit economically and diplomatically from staging the 2023 World Cup, after the 2015 edition, which was held in Canada, attracted 1.25 million fans and a global TV audience of 764 million.
France is due to host the 2019 event, while interest for the bidding rights to the 2023 World Cup has been expressed by Colombia, New Zealand, South Korea and Thailand.
“It’s a great initiative,” said Malcolm Turnbull, prime minister of Australia. “It’s a great goal. And I‘m excited to announce that the government will be backing the FFA’s bid for Australia to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.”
“The Matildas [the Australian women’s national team] are leaders on the international stage and they are wonderful role models in our community […] A women‘s World Cup hosted in our back yard would inspire a new generation of women and girls right across Australia.”
David Gallop, chief executive of Football Federation Australia, the governing body of soccer, futsal and beach soccer in the country, added: “We welcome the partnership of the Australian government in our bid to host the Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2023 and thank the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull and his ministerial colleagues for the strong support they have provided.
“We believe that hosting the world’s biggest women’s sporting event would bring enormous benefits to the Australian community, not only promoting healthy, active lifestyles but inclusion and gender equality."
The Australian women’s national team are currently ranked eighth in the world, and reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the third successive tournament in Canada in 2015.
Australia has staged several successful major sporting events, including the 2000 Sydney summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the 2003 Rugby World Cup, soccer’s 2015 AFC Asian Cup and the 2015 Cricket World Cup, where it was a co-host with New Zealand. The city of Gold Coast will stage the Commonwealth Games in April.