(ATR) Australia and New Zealand will host the next FIFA Women’s World Cup.
FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura and FIFA president Gianni Infantino reveal the winner. (FIFA)
The FIFA Council chose the joint bid from Down Under over one from Colombia by a vote of 22-13 in the first ballot taken during its virtual meeting on Thursday.
The Council members from Colombia and New Zealand were not allowed to vote due to conflict of interest rules. There are no Australians on the 37-member Council.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino officially announced the decision during a short online videoconference.
It will be the first FIFA World Cup to be co-hosted by two separate confederations. Australia is in the Asian Football Confederation while New Zealand is part of the Oceania body.
The Down Under FIFA Women’s World Cup will also be the first to be held in the Asia-Pacific region and the first to be held in the southern hemisphere.
The FIFA Council’s choices had been cut in half in recent days, with Japan bowing out earlier this week and Brazil pulling its bid earlier in the month. Both cited the coronavirus pandemic as one of the reasons for their respective withdrawals.
The Australia/New Zealand bid topped FIFA’s evaluation report released on June 10. Australia/New Zealand scored 4.1, Japan 3.9 and Colombia 2.8 on a five-point scale. Brazil had pulled out of the bidding two days before the report was made public.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup will be the ninth edition of the event and the first to feature 32 teams, eight more than any of the previous tournaments.
The United States is the two-time defending champion, having won in 2015 in Canada and last year in France.
In addition to choosing the host for the 2023 Women's World Cup, the FIFA Council also unanimously approved a COVID-19 relief plan that will make up to $1.5 billion available "to assist the football community" through a system of grants and loans.
The Council also endorsed changes to the international football calendar in response to the pandemic and approved a revised budget for the 2019-2022 cycle.
Written by Gerard Farek
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