Women’s World Cup 2023 Will Be A Watershed Moment – FIFA

Banyana Banyana, South Africa women's national football team. Women's World Cup 2023 Will Be A Watershed Moment - FIFA
Banyana Banyana, South Africa women’s national football team. (News Central TV)

The Women’s World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand will be a watershed moment that takes the game to a new level, eventually rivalling the men’s version, according to FIFA. Women’s football is already gaining popularity in several places, and the competition seems set to pique even more worldwide attention.

With 100 days till kick-off, FIFA’s top women’s football officer Sarai Bareman told NewsCorp Australia in comments published Tuesday that more than two billion spectators were expected to tune in for the Women’s World Cup 2023, more than doubling the previous tournament in France, which was won by the United States. With 650,000 tickets already sold, attendance is expected to be at an all-time high. The next stage of sales began on Tuesday.

Rashidat Ajibade of Nigeria celebrates after scoring a goal. Women's World Cup 2023
Rashidat Ajibade of Nigeria celebrates after scoring a goal. PHOTO: CAF

Women’s World Cup 2023, A Turning Point and Catalyst for Social Change

Bareman said that the Women’s World Cup 2023 will be a key turning point and a catalyst for social change, providing role models for young girls and promoting gender equality.

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“People will be saying, ‘That was the watershed moment that changed everything and took the game to the next level’,” she said.

“And that’s in every aspect — commercially, participation, popularity and growth.

“I think people will really look back and choose the women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand as that watershed moment where the growth, which is already exponential, just took off to the absolute next level.”

The ultimate goal, according to Bareman, a New Zealand-born former Samoan international, is to build the Women’s World Cup 2023 to challenge the men’s and put women on an equal footing in terms of remuneration.

“We know the men’s World Cup is the primary source of revenue for FIFA and football, and that generates in excess of $US5 billion per edition, and that’s a clear target for women’s football,” she said.

“We want to get to that level. The first World Cup for men was in 1930, it wasn’t until 61 years later the first women’s World Cup was introduced, we’re still in our infancy as a product.

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“But we have to look at what’s happening in the men’s game as an inspiration and a target, for me it’s got to be in the billions and we have to keep pushing until we get to that level.”

England women team celebrate winning Euro crown. Women's World Cup 2023
England women team celebrate winning Euro crown. Hopes to add Women’s World Cup 2023 trophy. GETTY IMAGES

Women’s World Cup 2023 Format

For the first time, the competition, which will be held in five Australian and four New Zealand cities, has been increased from 24 to 32 teams. The Women’s World Cup 2023 begins with New Zealand taking on Norway in Auckland and Australia taking on Ireland in Sydney.

Despite Bareman’s optimistic outlook, some broadcasters are apparently making low-ball proposals for rights to watch the event, a move that FIFA president Gianni Infantino has criticised as not acceptable. Concerns have been raised about some games being played late at night or early in the morning in profitable areas in Europe and the Americas. According to Bareman, broadcasters who underbid may lose out outright.

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“We do have to hold the line and make sure that for the good of the next generations of female footballers, that they are given the opportunities afforded their male counterparts,” she said. “We can only do that by ensuring its commercial value is recognised.

“It could be the case (some countries miss out), we’re still in the negotiation phase right now which is typical, often these things do come down to the wire so that’s nothing unusual.

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