Australia will launch a federal government-supported bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The 24-team tournament would be primarily hosted by either Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth or Canberra according to a News Corp report.
The Matildas, ranked eighth in the world, would gain automatic qualification for the tournament and would be among the favourites to lift the trophy after making the quarter-finals at the last two World Cups.
The federal government has pledged $1 million in initial funding and will commit a further $4 million in December if Australia is deemed a reasonable hosting prospect.
“I am delighted we are supporting a bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement.
“The Matildas are wonderful role models for young women and girls right across Australia. It would be fantastic to have the Matildas playing to win the Women’s World Cup on home soil.”
“We are a sporting nation, recognised internationally for our sporting achievements and for showcasing some of the biggest sporting events in the world.
“Women’s sport in Australia has moved forward in leaps and bounds in recent years. Staging the 2023 Women’s World Cup will continue this momentum.”
FFA chairman Steven Lowy said hosting the biggest women’s tournament would give the Matildas a great opportunity to lift the trophy.
“This is the largest, most prestigious and most competitive contest in a women’s sport globally,” Lowy told The Herald Sun.
“We want to win the right to host it and then win the tournament itself.
“The benefits to Australia are many and varied with major economic impact to the wider community and, most importantly, a massive increase in exposure and investment in women’s football.”
The Women’s World Cup was last held in Canada in 2015, drawing a whopping 1.35 million fans to the tournament and a TV audience of 764 million globally.
Canada’s soccer federation reported the World Cup generated nearly $500 million in economic activity for the country.
According to an independent report issued by the Australian Sports Commission, AusPlay, soccer is Australia’s number one participation sport for both men and women.
The Government has noted the potential economic benefits of hosting the Women’s World Cup but is “cautious” to provide significant funding upfront after Australia’s disastrous bid for the Men’s World Cup in 2022, which the Football Federation Australia (FFA) received $45.6 million in federal funding.
Formals bids are due in late 2018 with FIFA set to make its decision on the host by early 2019.