Australia’s bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup could include a long-awaited solution to Brisbane’s rectangular stadium shortage.
A $4 million funding boost from the federal government confirmed on Tuesday means Football Federation Australia is now full steam ahead in its pursuit of the hosting rights for the women’s football showpiece.
Brisbane Roar managing director David Pourre believes the opportunity is ripe to ensure the bid leaves behind a legacy in the form of a boutique stadium for men’s and women’s football if successful – an idea with tentative FFA support.
A-League chief Greg O’Rourke said this week it was clear some teams were playing in stadia that were “too big” for them, with Roar – which has an average attendance of 8993 this season in the 52,500-seat Suncorp Stadium – a perfect example.
The problem is there are no alternatives in Brisbane.
Ballymore Stadium is old and decaying and would need significant investment to bring the 18,000-seat arena up to standard for A-League and W-League matches, while a rebuild of Perry Park has been discussed in previous years.
Suncorp, previously known as Lang Park, would almost certainly be included in any Women’s World Cup bid but would likely be oversized for most games.
There is also barely any room in the stadium’s event calendar to host a second Brisbane team, with A-League expansion likely in the 2019-20 season.
Other sports, such as rugby league and rugby union, could also make regular use of a smaller rectangular ground.
An FFA spokesperson said: “FFA believes a boutique rectangular stadium in Brisbane would be of great benefit to the city and to football and a great asset within the context of a FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 should Australia be successful in winning the bid.”
Pourre said it was imperative FFA sat down with the Queensland government to find a way to make it happen.
“Suncorp is a fantastic venue. But with the women’s World Cup fast approaching, now is the time to improve infrastructure for football in Queensland, which has never really happened at all, and get something purpose-built to complement Suncorp,” Pourre said.
“They have it in Sydney, in Melbourne – we don’t want to be left behind.
“We would help out in any which way we can to support this becoming a reality.”