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Why Australia should host the 2023 Women’s Football World Cup

David Holden Roar Guru

By David Holden, David Holden is a Roar Guru

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    In June the federal government committed some modest funding to support Football Federation Australia’s bid for the Women’s World Cup in 2023. Based on the success of the Matildas on and off the field over the past few months, the FFA and the government should now be doing all it can to host that tournament.

    On the field the Matildas have achieved some phenomenal success. Just short of two months ago the seventh-ranked Matildas took on the eighth-ranked Brazil, the sixth-ranked Japanese team and world number one USA in the Tournament of Nations in the US. To win the tournament, highlighted by their first-ever win against the USA and a 6-1 win over Brazil, heralded the arrival of a new power in women’s soccer.

    The past week has proved even more astounding. The two wins against Brazil in Penrith and Newcastle drew crowds of 15,000 and almost 17,000 respectively, showing that this team has a strong local following. The two games in Victoria against China in late November, part of their lead up into the 2018 Asian Cup, are likely to draw in excess of 20,000 people each.

    This is a young team. They are only going to get better. With almost all of the squad in their 20s and most in their early 20s, most will be in their prime by 2023. Perhaps only Lisa de Vanna will no longer be in the game at that point, although a World Cup at home would surely be a fitting end to her wonderful career.

    (Image: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)

    The team is also blessed with star power. Sam Kerr is just that. She has been in the national set-up for a number of years but is only 24. She’s currently the leading goalscorer in the world-leading National Women’s Soccer League in the USA and is regularly on the scoresheet for the Matildas. With her trademark backflip, young girls idolise her. And that’s the point.

    Female sport in Australia is growing significantly at the representative level. While netball remains dominant – and for good reason, with the success of the national competition and the Diamonds – there are other pathways opening up. The success of the WBBL and the AFL Women’s competition is increasing grassroots participation in those sports, while the gold medal-winning women’s sevens team is introducing girls to rugby or, at least, Oztag.

    While football has arguably been the second largest team sport for women’s sport behind netball for some time, the Matildas brand is only going to increase female participation.

    The cost of hosting the cup here would be only a small fraction of the cost to host a men’s World Cup, as existing stadiums in Australia should be sufficient. While Australia wouldn’t expect to host a million spectators like Canada achieved in 2015, the global TV audience of more than 760 million could be replicated. The federal government will have taken notice of that.

    So it’s a no-brainer, really. A successful young team, large levels of support, increasing participation at grassroots level and large global exposure. There is time. Final bids are due late 2018 and the decision is expected sometime in 2019. We now leave it up to the FFA and the federal government to make it happen.

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    The Crowd Says (32)

    • Roar Guru

      September 23rd 2017 @ 10:38am
      Riley Pettigrew said | September 23rd 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

      A couple of months ago I doubted whether it was worth throwing funds into a bid but now after the Matildas recent success I think it could work. Australia deserve to host a major football event.

      The crowds have come, the Matildas are now among the best in the world, the recent Asian Cup was a hit. Why not?

      Last weekend showed there is a genuine appetite for women’s football in Australia. It’s great to see China touring Victoria in November.

      A women’s world cup won’t just be good for football in Australia but for all women’s sports.

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 12:17pm
      me too said | September 23rd 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

      Definitely, much smarter than bidding for the mens tournament, which given our population and lack of underhand bribes, was never a realsitic chance. Promoting the game benefits the game regardless of gender.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 12:25pm
        Waz said | September 23rd 2017 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

        “which given our population and lack of underhand bribes” … you really believe that?

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 3:38pm
          Freddie said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

          Australia was just as guilty at trying to influence the votes through targeted financial help. Just read the Garcia report. Honestly, some people really do believe Australia is purer than the driven snow!

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 12:25pm
      Waz said | September 23rd 2017 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

      Yes we should. And quite frankly the men’s version is getting so big that we probably couldn’t host that anyway.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 4:31pm
        Nick Symonds said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

        “quite frankly the men’s version is getting so big that we probably couldn’t host that anyway.”

        How about a joint bid with New Zealand?

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 4:49pm
          The Auteur said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

          Assuming all states are given games, that’s five different timezones with New Zealand which I think would be problematic with some international broadcasters (Europe and Americas) but it would be very well suited to Asia which seems to be the growing focus of FIFA and world football.

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:00pm
          Lionheart said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

          joint bid with Indonesia as part of Asia Confederation would make more sense

          • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:27pm
            Waz said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:27pm | ! Report

            I was thinking that too – huge crowds and would be popular with the AFC

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 12:51pm
      Nemesis said | September 23rd 2017 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

      Fully agree.

      On the world stage, Australia is a nobody in men’s football; but, we are now definitely amongst the powerhouse nations in Women’s football.

      We’ve hosted successful:

      u20 FIFA World Cups (1981, 1993)
      Olympics Football Tournament (1956, 2000)
      Asian Cup 2015

      Women’s World Cup is the next obvious step on our journey. Hosting a men’s World Cup is unlikely to happen in the lifetime of anyone posting on this forum.

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:07pm
      pacman said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

      Will Queensland be ready? Presumably the Cup will be contested during our winter, with the competing rugby codes clamouring for access to Stadium Brisbane (AKA Lang Park & Suncorp).

      If Australia’s bid is successful, and I hope it is, will Tourism and Events Queensland be able to cope with the pressure from the rugby codes? Surely they would not dish up “cow paddocks” in the style they do for Brisbane Roar?

      Hopefully Queensland Government politicians and bureaucrats will have matured somewhat during the intervening years, and will be able to identify the potential for Queensland Tourism with a sporting facility on display to world-wide TV audiences – like 100’s of millions, not the low seven figure SOO audiences, or even lower NRL audiences.

      By the way, not a code bashing post. Simply a comparison of potential for Queensland. My correspondence with the Qld Gov indicates that they do not get it!

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:29pm
        Waz said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

        It’s very simple, part of the bid is a new rectangular stadium for Brisbane. Home to 2x A League teams and no one else 👍

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:33pm
          pacman said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

          Do we need to build a new stadium Waz? I was under the impression that existing infrastructure was OK if it met the criteria set out by FIFA.

          • September 24th 2017 @ 7:51am
            Waz said | September 24th 2017 @ 7:51am | ! Report

            Brisbane needs a new rectangular stadium, Suncorp is already hosting more events in summer and plans to increase that even further. In addition to the concerts we’ve got the Rugby Global 10’s and the possibility of AFLX.

            Then you get in to the question of stadium availability for a WC bid, if it’s during the rugby season those codes can’t give up Suncorp for the exclusivity period FIFA demands.

            And there’s already discussions taking place, they’ve even identified one possible location, and it doesn’t need to be anything grand – a simple 25,000 seater is perfect for HAL and WC, just use the WC bid as added motivation.

            They key is, it has to be exclusive for football – as WSW will find out, expensive new stadiums get more and more content thrown in, the state of the pitch only matters to one code

            • September 24th 2017 @ 8:18am
              j,binnie said | September 24th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

              Waz – No one ever seems to ask the question,why do we have to have concerts at Suncorp when we have a mausoleum of a stadium lying idle out at QE11 a place quite capable of handling crowds the same size as Suncorp albeit the need to better organise transport to the ground for these singular occurences.
              Over the years this stadium has had millions of “public money” dollars spent on it and yet I doubt there is anyone who could tell you when it ever had to raise the “house full” sign.
              Roar talk quite openly of nurturing their connection with the Logan area and yet I have never seen that suggestion expanded to include QE 11 as an HAL game venue. Any views?? jb.

              • September 24th 2017 @ 8:54am
                Waz said | September 24th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

                That’s the frustrating point; the difference is ownership – QEII is owned by the City and Suncorp owned by the State so when the State brings concerts and events to town they get put in the Stadium the State owns. Not least to pay back the huge overspend.

                But QEII undergoes a huge transformation soon with the building of the netball CoE which makes the stadium next door ripe for development surely?

                But then you get on to a location for Roar and the impact of a potential second team – Strikers/City would love Roar to move south and leave them in the north, an Ipswich bid would prefer the opposite of course, as would any potential GC bid. My view on that is a fairly strong one … the statistics say Roar draws there 14k average from around 65,000 unique buyers which probably equates to 90,000 individuals (eg a unique buyer purchasing a ticket for themselves and one other person) and Roars stats is they’re pretty much coming from all corners of brisbane so any move has to be thought through carefully. Staying central or north/east towards the airport is crucial as are good transport links – as much as people say they dislike Suncorp it’s an easy place to get to no matter where you live.

                But I think Roar will be gone from Suncorp within 5 years, unless the stadium changes its event strategy (and why would they?) the question is to where?

              • September 24th 2017 @ 10:51am
                pacman said | September 24th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

                Location jb. Suncorp is event friendly due to the large number of social entertainment venues at close quarters. QE11 on the other hand may as well be in the middle of nowhere rather than in the middle of suburbia and lacks the entertainment venues that event goers seek out before and/or after the event they are attending.

              • September 24th 2017 @ 12:19pm
                j,binnie said | September 24th 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

                Pacman and Waz- Yes I was aware of the discrepancies in “ownership” though why two publicly elected bodies cannot cross communicate in this day and age is beyond comprehension.
                Pacman, I was present when 60,000 people attended the opening day of the Commonwealth games and don’t recollect any great hardship in getting to, or leaving the Stadium.
                Re,”facilities”,there could be ample opportunity to set up food and drink stalls “in ground” and although trains would not be available the BCC has ample buses to service the stadium,after all, very few “games” would be being played at what one would term “peak business hours”.
                Waz, the QE11 stadium has actually undergone 2 or 3 redevelopments since the heady days of the Commonwealth Games in 1982 but to the best of my knowledge none of the money spent has resulted in an overall improvement in usage. The new grandstand would not have been cheap to build but who sits in those seats and how often in those 35 years have they been filled?. Those are the questions that need to be answered.
                The other snippet of knowledge for both of you is that the Broncos biggest ever crowd was set, not at Suncorp,but at QE11.
                Ah, the intrigue of local politics. Cheers jb.

              • September 24th 2017 @ 1:10pm
                Waz said | September 24th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

                jb. All good. If I was going to make an additional comment on QEII it’s the capacity – 53,000 is too large for Roar when what they need is 25k. It could be reconfigured of course but then why should any club move there to fix someone else’s problem?

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 10:21pm
      BriainsTrust said | September 23rd 2017 @ 10:21pm | ! Report

      The mens world cup would be no problem for Australia, no way you should contemplate including a country with second rate stadiums of lower capacity. Already you have Suncorp,Gabba,Carrara,SFS,SCG,ANZ,MCG,Etihad, new Adelaide, new Perth, Geelong will be upgraded soon,so 1 stadium capacity to be increased will be needed, Newcastle could be done by just adding two big stadiums to the ends at a low cost.
      Womens world cup will be a doddle wih 6 venues, and none needing to be built.
      WIll there be an influx of tourists from a womens world cup, I would think very few but the costs are minimal.
      Mens world cup attracts the most tourists easily about 500,000 since Australia has so many upgraded and up to date stadiums its one of the few countries that should bid.
      South Africa, Brazil,Russia,Qatar should never have bid because they have had to build most of their stadiums.
      The events countries should never bid for are the Olympics and the Commonwealth games.
      Just because they require too many venues to be built.

      • September 24th 2017 @ 7:54am
        Waz said | September 24th 2017 @ 7:54am | ! Report

        All the stadiums you mention are multi-use; asking the other codes to vacate them for a month is impossible. Sydney could probably allocate one stadium to the WC, Adelaide, The Gong and the Central Coast one each as well. But the major population centres, doubtful.

        • September 24th 2017 @ 10:11am
          valhalla said | September 24th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

          out of curiosity …. you dont consider adelaide a major population centre?

          • September 24th 2017 @ 10:36am
            Waz said | September 24th 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            ha ha, yes I do. I was thinking more of places like Central Coast and The Gong. Hopefully my wife doesnt read this … she’s from Adelaide lol

        • September 24th 2017 @ 1:01pm
          BriainsTrust said | September 24th 2017 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

          That will not be the slightest problem, The Olympics here had some incredible legislation where they could get away with doing anything, the same goes for West Connex.
          NRL is no issuer they have AAMI, Parramatta, Cronulla, Gold COast, Brookvale, Penrtih, Kogarah, Leichardt, Cambeltown, Gosford, Canberra, North Sydney Oval. plus could play matches at various other locations like in Perth, Adelaide,
          Super Rugby no problem either, the season will be over.
          The only mob put out will be the AFL , they aren’t going to want to pay for maintaining Etihad they have already asked for 300 million of tax payers money for Etihad so the government has them by the balls there.
          Tasmania could host double headers each week in Launceston and Hobart ,you still have the WACA, Spotless stadium, Cairns,Manuka, NT they could easily work around it.

      • September 24th 2017 @ 8:38am
        j,binnie said | September 24th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        Brainstrust – Financially the most successful World Cup ever held was in the USA back in 1994.
        The figures generated are staggering and still stand today as the best ever even though the aggregates in following World Cups have been aided by an increase of another 8 countries to the final series of games.
        To those who have mentioned potential problem areas the preliminary comp. was played across 3 different time zones with only the final games allocated to the West Coast.
        The average attendance to EVERY game played stands at 69,000 per match with a total of 3.6 million fans attracted through the turnstiles.
        The rather strange factor to be considered is that not one “new” stadium was built to house any of the games played,the final matches being played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena attracting crowds of over 100,000.
        No World Cup played since has generated such figures . Cheers jb..

        • September 24th 2017 @ 11:03am
          pacman said | September 24th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          Nor likely to again jb,unless the US host another WC. Not many countries in the world, if any, possess the infrastructures found in the US.

          These infrastructures are not restricted to playing venues, but extend to accommodation, transport, food and drink, and on it goes. add to these the enormous number of well known tourist attractions found in that country, and little wonder their WC was so successful.

          • September 24th 2017 @ 11:34am
            j,binnie said | September 24th 2017 @ 11:34am | ! Report

            pacnman – You may or may not be aware of the fact but when the Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles in 1984 there was a move afoot to oust football from the competition due to the “fact” of the professionalism in that sport.
            Adidas at that time undertook to do a financial study into the Games and how they would be affected if football was removed from the scene.
            The result of that study was that those 1984 Games would have been a financial disaster if the football comp. had not been included.
            Taking football out of the Olympics has never been mentioned again.
            The final game in Pasadena attracted 102,000 a figure that was not surpassed until——surprise,surprise, the 114,000 that attended the final in ——Sydney in 2000, played between Cameroon and Spain. Cheers jb.

            • September 24th 2017 @ 12:15pm
              pacman said | September 24th 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

              Thanks for the interesting information jb. I was not aware of that detail, but it is my understanding that football played at any Olympic Games since WW11, and possibly earlier, draws total audiences greater than all other Olympic events combined.

              • September 24th 2017 @ 12:25pm
                j,binnie said | September 24th 2017 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

                Pacman -That’s what Adidas set out to prove and weren’t they given a “doozy” in their sample for the Olympic Committee of the time “knew” that the USA was not a “soccer loving country”,at least that’s what we were told.. Cheers jb.

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