KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Australia and New Zealand will host the 2023 Women’s World Cup in 2023 after a vote undertaken during a video conference of world federation FIFA’s governing council.

This will be the first cross-confederation staging in FIFA history since Australia is a member of the Asian confederation while New Zealand is within Oceania. The voting margin was a decisive 22-13.

The prize at stake -- current holders the United States

That was far clearer than had been suggested on the eve of the vote when the Colombians and South American confederation CONMEBOL lobbied hard to obtain the support of the European members of the council.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino will be relieved. The joint bid from Australia and New Zealand had emerged as superior among the remaining challengers in FIFA’s evaluation report.

A vote for Colombia would have been political and been a major setback for FIFA’s organisational and administrative reforms.

Winner on points

The 200-plus page evaluation document had scored Australia-New Zealand with 4.1 points from a maximum five in its proposal for the first 32-team women’s tournament. The bid was also rated the “most commercially favorable.”

The two other bidders were Japan, which scored 3.9, and Colombia which rated 2.8. Japan subsequently withdraw its bid last week.

Colombian officials were infuriated by criticism of its potential in the evaluation report and observation that it would need a “significant amount of investment and support.”

The individual voting was pubished by FIFA and revealed that all nine European members of the council – including British vice-president Greg Clarke – voted in vain for Colombia. Ramon Jesuran of Colombia and Johanna Wood of New Zealand were recused.

It has not always been the custom for the FIFA president to vote but, in this case, Infantino cast his vote for Australia and New Zealand.

He said: “We will organise the best-ever Women’s World Cup in 2023 in Australia and New Zealand. That is our ambition. This comes from the success of the last Women’s World Cup in France which was unique in terms of the impact this has had – a huge success everywhere – and we want to build on that.”

Wood said: “We are extremely delighted with the result. Colombia gave us a good run for our money but we’ve always said that it’s about working as one, making history and creating opportunities. We’ve been given a treasure and we will work towards having women’s football even more front and centre on the world stage.”

Asian confederation president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa led the congratulations on “a great day for women’s football and a historic moment with a cross-confederation tournament.”

He added: “What is most important for women’s football and why this is the right decision is that this was the most technically impressive of the bids and I am pleased that the FIFA Council were guided by the experts.

“Both countries have a strong tradition of growing the women’s game and I am sure that they will prove to be the perfect hosts . . . We thank both Prime Ministers [Scott Morrison and Jacinta Ardern] for their on-going support.

“This will be the first time the Southern Hemisphere has hosted the tournament and the benefits for the development of the women’s game in both Asia and the Pacific Region – as well as globally – are enormous.”

The voting:

FIFA statement:

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ will be staged in Australia and New Zealand, following a vote taken by the FIFA Council during its meeting held via videoconference, the result of which was announced by FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

The joint bid submitted by Football Federation Australia and New Zealand Football received 22 of the 35 valid votes cast by the FIFA Council members in the first ballot, with the Colombian Football Association having obtained 13 votes. The full voting results are available below.

Following on from the astounding success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019™ in France and the subsequent unanimous decision by the FIFA Council, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will be the first edition to feature 32 teams and it will also be the first to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand and across two confederations (AFC and OFC).

The individual voting: