FIFA said on Thursday that the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will be going ahead as scheduled after a European report floated the possibility of postponement.
French publication L’Equipe wrote on Thursday that FIFA had been in contact with several leading European footballing bodies to discuss the merits of postponing the 2023 Women’s World Cup for a number of months.
Similar to the 2022 Men’s World Cup set to be staged in Qatar from November to December, this would result in the WWC taking place in the European winter and Australian summer.
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However, though a FIFA spokesperson wouldn’t comment on the L’Equipe story when contacted, they told ESPN that the dates for the 2023 WWC remained unchanged.
“After a successful ‘One Year to Go’ event, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is scheduled to kick off on 20 July 2023,” a FIFA spokesperson told ESPN. “No changes to the dates of the competition are foreseen.”
The 2023 tournament is scheduled to commence on July 20 at Auckland’s Eden Park and the final is set to be played on Aug. 20 at Sydney’s Stadium Australia, with tickets set to go on sale this October. The draw for the tournament will also take place this October in Auckland.
Any change in dates, according to L’Equipe, would allow more favourable conditions such as extra daylight during the staging of the tournament.
Such a move would also help create more favourable conditions for broadcasters, with the report claiming that FIFA had received bids significantly below the €20 million it had collected for the 2019 tournament when taking the rights to market in France.
Last week, tournament organisers staged a series of events marking one year to go until the tournament’s commencement, including a cultural lighting ceremony in the New Zealand city of Hamilton and the unveiling of a “Unity Pitch” gifted to Sydney in Australia.
“Today is a great day in the build-up to the ninth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura said at the events.
A Football Australia spokesperson, meanwhile, told ESPN that they had no knowledge of any talks surrounding the possible postponement of next year’s tournament.
It said: “Following recent ‘One Year To Go’ celebrations across Australia and New Zealand, Football Australia continues to plan towards the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 kicking off in July next year as scheduled.”