Sunday 13 August 2023, 12:30

Legacy Working Group excited at FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ impact

  • The Legacy Working Group is made up of representatives from the two co-host member associations, the AFC, OFC and FIFA

  • An influx of new participants is expected following the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™

  • This edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ is the first to have its impact and legacy measured

Following the conclusion of the Round of 16 fixtures at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™, the Legacy Working Group met to discuss the impact of the tournament so far. The Legacy Working Group was established by FIFA to amplify and measure the legacy of the 2023 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. While anecdotal evidence has always supported the fact that a FIFA Women’s World Cup has a positive impact on host countries, the Legacy Working Group will ensure that the 2023 edition of the tournament will quantify that impact for the first time. The group is comprised of representatives from the two cost-host Member Associations – Football Australia and New Zealand Football, two Confederations – the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) – and FIFA.

Legacy projects already underway have seen millions of dollars invested across Oceania and Asia as well as through two specific programmes run by the host countries: Football Australia’s Legacy ’23 and New Zealand Football’s Legacy Starts Now. Upgrades to a variety of facilities have seen improvements to venues that include stadiums, community club grounds, gender-neutral changing rooms, and administration bases for Australian and New Zealand regional federations. Participation programmes created for women and girls throughout the region have also been prominent, with a focus on players as well as additional programmes to promote women in media, leadership positions, refereeing, coaching and volunteering.

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura (R) with FIFA Council Member and New Zealand Football President Johanna Wood (L) and FIFA Chief Women's Football Officer Sarai Bareman (C)

President of New Zealand Football and FIFA Council Member, Johanna Wood, said the impact of the tournament reaches wider than simply the two host nations. “The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 has been a tournament of firsts,” she explained. “It’s really exciting that we’re looking at long-term legacy and looking collaboratively at the impact of what this Women’s World Cup has done, not just for our region or our two host countries, but also our wider region: the Pacific and Southeast Asia.”

Head of Women’s Football at Football Australia, Sarah Walsh

Head of Women’s Football at Football Australia, Sarah Walsh, said Legacy programmes are crucial to capitalise on the tournament’s momentum. “I’m confident through our Legacy ‘23 plan and the success of this tournament so far – we’ve had 1.7m attendees already and expecting two billion broadcast viewership – that we’re going to be able to retain interest post-World Cup, which makes me very excited,” said Walsh. “Over the last three years we have been building the foundations. If there is nowhere to play, or clubs don’t have the tools to retain women and girls and understand their needs, then we won’t retain the interest from the tournament.”

Eilidh Mackay speaking at the FIFA Women's World Cup Legacy Working Group meeting

Legacy Manager at FWWC2023, Eilidh Mackay, agrees that preparation is one of the biggest factors of the Legacy programmes. “Legacy is: are we ready for that impact? Are we ready for the boys and girls that have been inspired by this tournament?” said Mackay. “Do our clubs, coaches and referees have the capacity and capability to give new participants the best experience of football so they remain part of the football family. Not for one year, two years, or even five years, but for life. “If the answer is ‘yes’, that to me, suggests a lasting legacy."