Melbourne: Australia and New Zealand will co-host the Women’s World Cup in 2023 after a vote by world football’s governing body.
The joint bid beat Colombia 22-13 in a vote Thursday by FIFA’s ruling council, which judged them as having the best commercial prospects for women’s soccer.
FIFA’s technical evaluation on all three hosts had put the Trans-Tasman bid way ahead of its rival, giving it a score of 4.1 out of five.
Japan was awarded 3.9, partly prompting its withdrawal, whilst Colombia scored only 2.8.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has been praised for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic, had publicly backed the bid.
Along with her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, she had penned an open letter to FIFA supporting the joint bid. She also reiterated her commitment in a final attempt to persuade the FIFA council on Wednesday.
One commercial challenge for the 2023 tournament will be the time zones: Auckland in New Zealand, which should host the opening game, is 16 hours ahead of New York.
Seven of the quarterfinalists last year were European, and an afternoon kick off in Sydney would be breakfast-time viewing in Paris or Berlin.