Football in Australia stands at an interesting juncture.
FIFA has launched its bidding process for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, with Australia hoping to get the nod from a 37-strong FIFA Council.
The 2019 event, in France, will conclude without the next hosting rights being awarded, with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino pledging a decision will be made in March next year.
And unlike the new open vote held last year for the 2026 men’s tournament, FIFA will revert to a panel of male-dominated supremos choosing the 2019 hosts via a secret ballot.
Both the voting process and Australia’s chastising experience from the 2022 men’s World Cup bid hasn’t cooled FFA’s ambitions.
Australia received $46 million of public money to garner just one vote in the 2022 race, losing to outsiders Qatar.
The federal government has again dipped in to assist the 2019 bid, pledging $5 million.
“Australia has a fantastic record of hosting sporting events and we are confident we will put together an extremely compelling case to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia in 2023,” FFA chief executive David Gallop said.
Australia’s stiffest competition is likely to come from Colombia.
Aussie sporting rivals South Africa, New Zealand and Japan are also mulling over bids.
The contenders will be known within a month, with an expression of interest due to FIFA by March 15 to be followed by a formal registration by April 16.
The hardest work will then begin for the Australian taskforce, with a detail-rich bid book due in on October 4.
Every Australian state and territory has expressed interest in hosting matches.
FFA declared its intentions in June 2017 and last year launched a AusBid2023.com website for Australians to #GetOnside and submit registrations of support.
A return to the behind-closed-doors vote means the power to award hosting rights will fall to the FIFA Council.
Just six of the 37 FIFA Council members are women. None are Australian.
Gallop said he was unsurprised by the decision to use the old process for the 2023 bid.
“We look forward to better understanding the decision-making process and hosting requirements for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 in April,” he said.
“We acknowledge that FIFA has undertaken a substantial reform process in recent years and that the process will be transparent. We will continue to monitor the process carefully.”
The 2019 Women’s World Cup kicks off in June, while the 2026 Men’s World Cup will be hosted by the USA, Mexico and Canada.