Saturday 22 October 2022, 22:15

Gianni Infantino says the ninth FIFA Women’s World Cup™ will ‘unite the world’

  • Gianni Infantino addresses delegates before the draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau

  • For the first time in tournament history, the ninth edition will include 32 nations

  • The FIFA Women’s World Cup™ is expected to reach more than two billion people

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has predicted the ninth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ will not only be the biggest and best ever, but will bring people together from all walks of life to celebrate one shared passion. For the first time in FIFA Women’s World Cup™ history, 32 nations from six confederations will compete at the finals for the title of world champions and – in line with the FIFA President’s Vision – Mr Infantino said the expanded competition provides more opportunity for inspiration, togetherness and growth of the women’s game.

Speaking just before the draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ was made, the FIFA President said: “Football unites the world, and next year from 20 July to 20 August, we will unite the world in Australia and in New Zealand, and we will unite the world in joy, because football is joy.” Mr Infantino continued: “For the one-and-a-half million fans who will fill ten beautiful stadiums in your two countries, for the two billion viewers who will watch this FIFA World Cup all over the world, unique figures for the best ever FIFA World Cup. I can make you one more promise, to all of you here in New Zealand and in Australia as well. This FIFA World Cup will not just be the best ever. It will turn your two countries upside down.” Among the delegates in New Zealand for the draw, there were 28 head coaches from nations who have already booked their places at next year’s finals – and eight from countries competing in the Play-off Tournament, which take place in Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau and Hamilton / Kirikiriroa in February 2023, to determine the final three nations to qualify for the finals.

Addressing delegates ahead of the draw, the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of Aotearoa, New Zealand, added her own words of welcome. She said: “In New Zealand and Australia you will see in our stadiums, our host cities, in our welcome, that we embrace the opportunity you have given us in hosting this, the world’s largest women’s sporting event.” Meanwhile, the Honourable Anika Wells, Minister for Sport of the Commonwealth of Australia, added: “Sport changes lives. This World Cup will change lives. Not just for players, but for fans captivated in stadiums and at home, and for the children watching on and believing that they can be great - as they witness something beyond greatness.”

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ kicks off on 20 July, and runs for one month – with the final scheduled to take place on 20 August at the Stadium Australia in Sydney. Saturday’s draw also set out who the co-hosts will be facing in their opening games, with Australia and New Zealand to open their campaigns against the Republic of Ireland and Norway, respectively. Best of Social Media Reaction