Australia and New Zealand win race to host Women’s World Cup

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Australia and New Zealand have won the vote to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup, despite the outsiders Colombia having won the backing of Uefa, the confederation with the largest number of members on the Fifa council.

The vote was not as narrow as anticipated, with the combined bid of Australia and New Zealand receiving 22 votes to Colombia’s 13.

Australia and New Zealand had received public backing from the Asian Football Confederation, which has seven votes, and won support from all members of the council from the Confederation of African Football and Concacaf, which represents North and Central America and the Caribbean.

On the eve of the vote a meeting of Uefa delegates to the Fifa council appeared to have swung the odds in favour of Colombia after two members criticised the Fifa technical reports into the bids and argued that because the Women’s World Cup was a “development tournament” representatives should back Colombia.

Falling in line, all nine Uefa members backed the Colombia bid alongside Conmebol the South American delegates.

Fifa’s technical reports gave the Australia and New Zealand bid a score of 4.1 out of five and Colombia a score of 2.8.

The neighbouring nations ran a slick campaign that involved recruiting over 800,000 public backers to its #AsOne team and a joint letter to the Fifa council from Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, and his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, two days before the vote that promised to create “a profound and enduring legacy for the future of women’s football within the region and beyond”.

Australia was first to announce it was targeting the tournament, on 8 July 2019, one day after the final of the World Cup in France. New Zealand joined the bid in December.

Brazil withdrew its bid on 8 June, unifying the South American vote behind Colombia, which Japan cited as a factor when it pulled out of the race on the 22 June.

By The Guardian

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