Dunedin in line to host Women's World Cup games?

Football Ferns Erin Walker, Hannah Wilkinson and Annalie Longo celebrate New Zealand winning the...
Football Ferns Erin Walker, Hannah Wilkinson and Annalie Longo celebrate New Zealand winning the vote. Photo: Getty Images
Dunedin appears to be in line as a host city for the 2023 Women's Football World Cup.

New Zealand and Australia were confirmed co-hosts of the event this morning, after their joint-bid received the most votes overnight.

The proposal had put forward 12 cities as hosts - five in New Zealand and seven in Australia.

Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium posted on social media this morning to say it would be one of those hosting games.

It would follow the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the 2015 Cricket and FIFA under-20 men's World Cups, both in 2015, as global events hosted by the city. 

The joint-bid beat Colombia to win hosting rights for the World Cup after all other contenders had dropped out to leave just the two remaining.

The successful bid received a technical score of 4.1 points out of five in FIFA's evaluation report.

That swayed the 35 members to vote in favour of the joint hosts over the South Americans.

The event will be the first to be held across two confederations - the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Oceania Football Confederation.

There are 37 FIFA Council members but only 35 voted, as New Zealand's Johanna Wood and Colombia's Ramon Jesurun were ineligible.

Of the available votes, nine were from UEFA, seven from Asia, seven from Africa, five from North and Central America, four from South America and two from Oceania. FIFA Council president Gianni Infantino held the other vote.

Following Japan's withdrawal, the Australia and New Zealand's joint bid consolidated its voting power in Asia, with FIFA Council vice-president Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa pledging the AFC's support. Oceania had already backed the joint bid.

Earlier reports from Europe indicated the majority of UEFA's nine Council members could vote for Colombia, which was also set to be supported by its fellow CONMEBOL members.

The expanded 32-team tournament - eight more than the 2019 edition in France - is expected to open in July 2023.

After a successful World Cup last year, FIFA wants the next women's tournament to further establish its independence from the men, and show it is commercially attractive.

At least $100 million is expected to be paid by the governing body in 2023 - for prize money, team preparation costs and to clubs releasing players for the tournament - FIFA president Gianni Infantino pledged last year in France.

Ahead of the bid the Australia-New Zealand team left nothing to chance, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern personally hitting the phones in an attempt to secure the tournament.

Ardern and Australian counterpart Scott Morrison both featured in the campaign's final presentation, which was seen before the vote.

Auckland's Sky Tower and The Sydney Opera House and were lit up on Thursday to celebrate the joint bid.

- Otago Daily Times and NZ Herald

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