Australia, New Zealand to co-host 2023 Women’s World Cup

A video monitor with the FIFA delegates is pictured during a virtual FIFA Council Meeting held behind closed doors at FIFA headquarters on Thursday. (AFP)
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Updated 25 June 2020

Australia, New Zealand to co-host 2023 Women’s World Cup

  • The 2023 tournament will be the first time a World Cup for men or women will be shared across two continental bodies, and the first co-hosted women’s edition

ZURICH: Australia and New Zealand will co-host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The island neighbors beat Colombia 22-13 on Thursday in a vote by the FIFA Council.

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

The winning bid proposed 12 cities with seven in Australia and five in New Zealand. It includes the main stadium used for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

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.

Colombia’s bid was rated a high-risk commercial option in an evaluation of the candidates published this month. Australia and New Zealand’s bid was rated low-risk and scored 4.1 points out of a maximum 5. Colombia scored 2.8.

A third candidate, Japan, withdrew on Monday. That gave fellow Asian Football Confederation member Australia a clearer run. 

New Zealand is part of the smaller Oceania continental group.

The 2023 tournament will be the first time a World Cup for men or women will be shared across two continental bodies, and the first co-hosted women’s edition.

Colombia’s bid was supported by most of the nine voters from European soccer body UEFA.

Launched in 1991, the Women’s World Cup has never been hosted in South America.

Both Australia, the No. 7-ranked team in women’s soccer, and No. 23 New Zealand will qualify automatically for the tournament.

Colombia is currently ranked No. 25 and was the only one of the three bidders not to qualify for the 2019 edition.


97 players, staff test positive for virus as KSA clubs resume training

Updated 27 min 59 sec ago

97 players, staff test positive for virus as KSA clubs resume training

  • Authorities introduce a range of protocols to ensure a safe return to competition

JEDDAH: Almost 100 footballers and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 as Saudi football clubs resume training for the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Football League competitions.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation said that 1,351 tests were carried out between June 21 and July 8, resulting in 50 players and 47 administrative staff testing positive.

Matches in the professional league are set to resume on Aug. 4 after being suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted all sports activities in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Pro League Association and relevant authorities have introduced a range of protocols to ensure a safe return to competition.

Players are encouraged to use hand sanitizers and disinfectants before and after training. Surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized around the clock, and coaching and administrative staff must wear face masks at all times.

Staff and players will have their temperatures checked at the entrance to training grounds, which will have designated entrances and exits to avoid overcrowding. Staff will also check for symptoms among players during training sessions.

HIGHLIGHTS

• According to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, 1,351 tests were carried out between June 21 and July 8, resulting in 50 players and 47 administrative staff testing positive.

• Matches in the professional league are set to resume on Aug. 4 after being suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted all sports activities in the Kingdom.

• The Saudi Pro League Association and relevant authorities have introduced a range of protocols to ensure a safe return to competition.

Pools will remain closed, while equipment including balls, goalposts and training items, as well as training spaces used by players, will be disinfected before and after use.

Staff members older than 65 and those who suffer from chronic illness will not be allowed on the field.

The federation also decided to increase the number of substitutes during a game from three to five in line with amendments approved by the International Football Association.

Players must follow social distancing rules while training and on substitute benches and in locker rooms. Exchanging shirts and handshakes are prohibited.

Games will be played without fans.

Training resumed on June 21, 2020, in line with medical protocols and precautionary measures.