1 Aug 2019

NZF 'cautiously optimistic' over Women's WC

6:20 pm on 1 August 2019

New Zealand Football say they're "cautiously optimistic" about where their host bid stands after confirmation of an increase in teams for the next Women's World Cup.

Hope Solo of USA holds the world cup trophy in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015.


Global governing body Fifa announced on Thursday (NZ time) the 2023 tournament will expand from 24 to 32 teams.

That's left New Zealand - and the eight other countries who have registered to submit hosting bids - needing to now re-evaluate those bids if they want to remain in contention.

NZ Football boss Andrew Pragnell said they're now waiting on updated hosting documents from Fifa.

"The devil is always in the detail with these things and what they haven't done yet is send out the changes in specification for the hosting requirements.

"That document is due with us before the 19th of August, so we really need to take stock of that and if the compliance requirements around stadiums, training sites and accommodation have changed.

"That'll give us a clear steer on where our bid's at."

The tournament has steadily increased the number of participating teams from 12 in the first edition in 1991 to 24 teams in the last two editions.

The expansion will mean it will now be on par with the men's tournament which has had 32 teams since 1998.

Nine countries have so far submitted bids including Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea.

Pragnell said they're "cautiously optimistic" about where their bid stood.

"I hope that Fifa have taken good account of the efforts that nine counties have put into their bids to date.

"I'm optimistic but also realise things could change. I still think we're in a good position but the specification document will tell all."

New Zealand Football were also viewing the tournament as this country's last chance to host a major Fifa event.

Pragnell said they would be doing everything they could to ensure they remained a strong contender.

"This event is effectively growing exponentially, doubling in size from cycle on cycle.

"If It continues to grow at this rate, which everyone would anticipate it will, it would be out of our reach. As is the men's World Cup.

"Sure we'll be able to host age grade events, as we have done successfully in the past, but we don't think we could, as a sole country, host an event of this size and scale in 2027."

- RNZ, Reuters