FIFA has made it official that Women’s World Cup 2023 would see 32 teams partaking. This is a substantial growth since the days in 1991 when a small 12 groups were involved, which grew then to 24 units during this year’s tournament. This change also caused the bidding process to host the event, to open up again.
Women’s World Cup Now on Par with Men
The increase in teams allowed to play is placing the men’s and women’s cups on the same level. The Men’s World Cup had 32 teams competing, already since 1998 and this move is once again considered an effort made to achieve an equal playground for men and women on the sporting field globally.
Hosting the Cup is another desire which Australia is chasing down. Even though April was already the deadline for submitting documentation to bid on hosting the Cup, the option to offer was opened again after these changes were made. Currently, eight countries have submitted their bids to host the event. Except for Australia, these include Colombia, Bolivia, Japan, Argentina, South Korea, South Africa and New Zealand. FIFA confirmed that updated information regarding the bid would be sent to all of these within the next month as well as to countries which are considered eligible to bid in the run for hosting the event. Submissions to host will now be closed only in December this year with FIFA announcing the elected host in May next year.
The expansion of the number of teams allowed to play is creating magnificent opportunities for so many more women involved in the sport, by allowing them the possibility to qualify.
Not All in Australia are On Board Though
Even though the Football Federation of Australia is pressing hard to win the bid to host, it seems that there is some serious resistance against this notion. Steven Marshall, the South Australian Premier, confirmed this week that their government would not be available to host any matches if Australia does win the bid to host the Women’s World Cup in 2023. The reasoning behind it seems twofold. The Coopers Stadium in Adelaide needs some significant renovations and upgrades to be done to be able to host a world-class event. This is going to be a costly exercise for the local government. The second reason is based on the fact that the local AFL supporters would not be able to access the Adelaide Oval for the entire period during 2023, of about 5-6 weeks. The provincial government is not eager to make decisions which would affect these supporters negatively.
Government is not keen to commit any money to the tournament, especially since it isn’t clear which games or how many would be played in Adelaide. This announcement by Marshall was made after Premier Berejiklian confirmed Sydney’s commitment to hosting the event. Some critics are expressing their anger towards Marshall’s decision and are stating that Adelaide is becoming a city left behind in Australia, creating controversy in the Australian Soccer World.