FFA chief Chris Nikou flagged the possibility of a partnership last month and sources close to the negotiations suggest the trans-Tasman bid has been formally agreed upon by the two nations. Australia and New Zealand have compiled the relevant documents and completed the bid book which is already on its way to Zurich ready to be submitted to FIFA’s offices by the December 13 deadline.
Within that bid book is a proposal to stage the 2023 Women’s World Cup final in Sydney, with a newly renovated 75,000 seated stadium in Olympic Park the most likely venue to host the decider. ANZ Stadium will host its last event on June 27, 2020 before undergoing renovations and is set to re-open in early 2023.
Venues shouldn’t be an issue for the joint bid with Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta also listed for the tournament as well as the 45,000 new Sydney Football Stadium. The Moore Park venue should be open before the 2023 Women’s World Cup despite the significant delay caused by the state government’s inability to appoint a builder on time.
The Queensland government has pledged $11m towards the bid and would host at least one knockout game and a Matildas match at Suncorp Stadium, while Tasmania signed on this week to make UTAS Stadium in Launceston available for games.
The other Australia venues included in the bid are AAMI Park in Melbourne, HBF Park in Perth and Coopers Stadium in Adelaide. FFA will be hoping for a show of leniency from FIFA to use the latter which falls marginally short of the preferred minimum capacity.
The New Zealand venues have not yet been revealed however sources involved in the bid suggest Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Hamilton and Christchurch are all possible host cities included in the 2023 Women’s World Cup bid. FFA declined to comment when contacted by the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Tuesday and it’s not yet known what composition of games will be shared between Australia and New Zealand as part of the bid.
However, that could be known as early as next week with FIFA set to make all bid books publicly available online. Alongside the trans-Tasman bid, Colombia, Japan, Brazil and Argentina are in the running to win the hosting rights. A joint Korean bid from South and North Korea had been flagged but they are yet to submit a bid book while South Africa withdrew from the race on Monday.
All documents must be submitted by Friday. FIFA’s executive committee will determine the winning bid with a vote in May.