Wednesday 10 May 2023, 13:45

Excitement builds as latest Beyond Greatness Champions are announced

  • FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura attends meet and greet on shores of Sydney harbour

  • Australians Rhiannan Iffland, Kerri Pottharst and Sam Squiers unveiled as Beyond Greatness Champions

  • Latest three celebrities join existing squad of nine Beyond Greatness Champions supporting the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™️

There could barely have been a better location to celebrate the fast-looming FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™️ - and also the progress of women’s football - as the FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura was joined by a host of local guests in Sydney/Gadigal. In the shadows of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, an informal meet and greet proved an opportunity to gather and mark the excitement of the upcoming tournament, as well as its broader meaning for women’s football.

Joining the FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura were a host of guests including FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer, Sarai Bareman, FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 COO Australia, Jane Fernandez, James Johnson, CEO of Football Australia and Head of Women’s Football and Women’s World Cup Legacy at Football Australia, Sarah Walsh, in addition to the latest Australian Beyond Greatness Champions. The newest names announced were Beach Volleyball Olympic gold medallist, Kerri Pottharst, world champion cliff diver Rhiannan Iffland and journalist Sam Squiers. The Beyond Greatness Champions are a group of inspirational trailblazers who represent the best of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand across sport, entertainment, media, arts, politics and business.

“We are now just 73 days away from what promises to be the biggest and best FIFA Women’s World Cup ever held,” said FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura. “And what a perfect location to welcome the latest Beyond Greatness Champions who are playing such a strong role in promoting the tournament and all that is good in women’s sport. “This is a moment to recognise what has been done by the two host countries in order to stage the ninth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the most spectacular manner.” The Secretary General joined Sarah Walsh, Football Australia Head of Women's Football and Women's World Cup Legacy and Inclusion, along with Ellie Cole, Australia’s most decorated Paralympian and Australian Beyond Greatness Champion, for a panel discussion about the growth in women’s football, legacy and role-models.

Notably the conversation centred on the legacy of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and inspiring more and more females around the world to play football. “I always wonder what my life would have been like if I didn’t have a sport that represented who I was,” said Cole. “That opportunity through sport has changed my life, and to see what women’s sport is going to be able to do is immeasurable. We will never be able to measure how much impact this will have but we know it will be incredible.” Former Australia striker Walsh said: “We launched Legacy ‘23 in 2020 and we are now in the fun phase where we can see things coming to life. We did a lot of heavy lifting early on, but seeing it come to life is probably what I have enjoyed the most. A lot of our targets go out three years beyond the World Cup. I’m excited about that and what it will do for the next generation of boys and girls here in Australia.”

The FIFA Secretary General subsequently visited Sydney Football Stadium, hosted by Phillip Heads, Group General Manager Communications, Heritage and Community at Venues New South Wales. The stadium was officially opened in late August 2022 and will host five group stage matches, as well as a Round of 16 fixture during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023.

Within walking distance of the Sydney CBD, the state-of-the-art 42,500 capacity facility is the only completely new venue that will be used during the upcoming tournament. Originally constructed in 1988, the former stadium has previously hosted FIFA World Cup™️ qualifiers, A-League Men and Women Grand Finals and, notably, the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament final at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.