Tuesday 19 July 2022, 20:00

Unity in focus as one year to go milestone celebrated Down Under

  • Major milestone marked on the road to Australia & New Zealand 2023

  • Celebrations across nine host cities including the unveiling of a Unity Pitch

  • Tickets available from October

A major landmark was reached today, marking 365 days until the opening action at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand™. And if the celebrations across the host cities are any indication, then the enthusiasm and zest for the tournament are sure to reverberate across Australia and New Zealand long after the world champion is crowned in August 2023. The day’s activities were highlighted by the visit of FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura to Sydney where a Unity Pitch was unveiled. Located initially at Barangaroo on the shores of Sydney Harbour, the colourful mini-field will be accessible and provide an opportunity for locals to engage with the tournament in a tangible way. The pitch will visit each of the nine cities before being gifted to the host countries as part of FIFA’s commitment to leave a lasting legacy.

The FIFA Secretary General was joined by a large gathering of dignitaries, officials and media, as well as some young players who tested out the brand new pitch. Adding some footballing star power were Australia fullback Ellie Carpenter; New Zealand midfielder Malia Steinmetz and former Women’s World Cup-winner and FIFA Legend Carla Overbeck. Guests were also treated to warm and welcoming cultural ceremonies from both host countries’ First Nations people. However, the day’s activities kicked off in Hamilton as dawn broke in the tournament’s most easterly venue where an uplifting ceremony was led by mana whenua, including Ngāti Wairere and Waikato Tainui. The crowd of invited guests were welcomed onto Waikato Stadium as a vibrant display of blue, green, pink, yellow and red lights lit up the pitch.

There was action elsewhere across New Zealand, including in Dunedin where the milestone day was celebrated with children playing football activities in the company of New Zealand midfielder Emma Rolston. “It’s always special to wear the fern and step out on that field,” said Rolston. “Being at home and being in front of your friends and family as well as having such a huge event here is going to be incredible.”

The most colourful activity, however, saw the lighting of major landmark structures in tournament colours and branding. Auckland’s Sky Tower notably cut a distinct figure with ‘One Year To Go’ reaching high into the dark night sky. Across the Tasman Sea, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth all enjoyed a similarly high-profile ‘Unity Lighting’. In Sydney, the pylons of the iconic Harbour Bridge were illuminated with a stunning and unforgettable visual homage to the world’s biggest football event. "It’s all very exciting because it's obviously going to be very emotional to walk out to hopefully sold-out crowds and sing the national anthem in front of family and friends," said former Sydneysider and current Lyon star Carpenter. "Having it at home in our backyard is going to be just amazing."

FIFA also announced that tickets for Australia & New Zealand 2023 will go on sale online from 6 October with tickets starting from $20 AUD/NZL for adults and $10 for children. For information on how to apply for FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ tickets click here