A joint bid by New Zealand and Australia won the rights to stage the 2023 Women’s World Cup on Thursday, marking the first time a major FIFA senior championship tournament will be played in Oceania.
The New Zealand-Australia bid received 22 of the 35 votes cast by FIFA Council members on the first ballot to beat a proposal from Colombia, which received 13 votes. Initially nine countries, including Brazil, Japan and Argentina, had expressed interest in staging the quadrennial women’s world championship. But when Japan and Brazil withdrew their bids earlier this month, it left just Colombia and the New Zealand-Australia proposals on the ballot.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup will be the largest ever, featuring 32 teams. It also will be the first shared by two FIFA confederations. Australia is part of the Asian confederation while New Zealand is in the Oceania confederation.
The last women’s World Cup, won by the U.S. last summer in France, drew a record television audience of 1.2 billion globally. The final, in which the U.S. beat the Netherlands in Lyon, was the most-watched Women’s World Cup match in history.
If the U.S. qualifies for the 2023 event, it would enter the competition as the two-time defending champion.