Monday 15 May 2023, 10:30

Secretary General completes Australian inspection visit

  • Stadium inspections and key stakeholder meetings highlight a busy schedule

  • Trip included Adelaide/Tarntanya, Perth/Boorloo and tournament Final venue Sydney/Gadigal

  • Visit concluded at a world-first lifestyle program targeting fathers as the agents of change to improve their daughters’ physical activity levels

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura has completed a lengthy visit to Australia ahead of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™️, kicking off on 20 July. The FIFA delegation, including Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman, held meetings with government, tourism boards representatives, football stakeholders, and carried out inspections of various tournament-related venues and infrastructure in Sydney/Gadigal, Adelaide/Tarntanya and Perth/Boorloo.

The delegation’s activities in Australia both commenced and concluded with local football activities, starting with the A-League Women Grand Final which was played in front of a record attendance. “With eight new participating nations and co-hosting in place for our first-ever Southern Hemisphere Women’s World Cup, this has long promised to be an unique tournament, but after my visit I’m even more excited about what lies in store,” said the Secretary General. “Everywhere I have travelled I have experienced high-level enthusiasm for the tournament from a wide variety of stakeholders and also at grassroots level.

“Equally the facilities I have seen - including stadiums, training venues and other associated infrastructure - are truly of a high standard. That was the case in all three cities, but notably the wonderful stadium in Perth/Boorloo where massive progress has been made in the past year. “The aim is to deliver the best FIFA Women’s World Cup ever, and I’m sure that is what will happen. For any international supporters thinking about coming Down Under for the tournament I’m sure it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Along with FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer, Sarai Bareman and CEO FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, Dave Beeche, the Secretary General visited both Sydney/Gadigal stadiums to be used during the tournament.

Stadium Australia, originally constructed for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, will host Australia’s opening day match against Republic of Ireland and the Final, as well as other knockout stage fixtures. The brand-new Sydney Football Stadium will welcome a host of big name teams such as Germany and France, plus host a key Group D match between England-Denmark match.

Other highlights of the past week included a special event to welcome Australia’s latest Beyond Greatness Champions, plus a unique forum for local Embassy and Consulate designed to connect with the government representatives of most participating nations. Prior to departing the country, Anika Wells, Australian Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Sport hosted a meeting to discuss the readiness of venues in the five Australian host cities, whilst John Graham (New South Wales Minister of Legislative Council) and Stephen Kamper (New South Wales Minister for Sport) met to discuss the importance of female empowerment, when considering the potential legacy impact of the tournament. There was also time to visit the International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Sydney/Gadigal, It was perhaps fitting that the three weeks tour of the country concluded as it began, with a visit to a group of young women with a ball at their feet. Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered is a world-first lifestyle program targeting fathers as the agents of change to improve their daughters’ physical activity levels, sport skills and social-emotional well-being.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand kicks off in less than 70 days. It will feature a newly-expanded 32-nation team format and will be played across nine cities in both countries. Starting on 20 July the tournament runs until 20 August with the world champions to be crowned at Stadium Australia in Sydney, Australia.