Football: New Zealand, Australia win right to host 2023 Women's World Cup

New Zealand and Australia have been awarded the hosting rights for the 2023 Women's Football World Cup.

The joint bid got the nod ahead of Colombia, which was the only other rival in the running after Brazil and Japan dropped out of the race earlier this month. 

The New Zealand and Australia bid received 22 votes cast by the FIFA Council members, with Colombia receiving 13.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian leader Scott Morrison were both heavily involved in the bid race, with both leaders featuring in the final presentation to the FIFA Council.

"We are honoured to have been selected as hosts for the 2023 Women's World Cup," says Ardern. 

"It will be a historic tournament of firsts that will create a profound and enduring legacy for women's football in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. 

"We are looking forward to delivering the best ever Women's World Cup in both nations, one that will elevate the women's game and inspire women and girls around the world."

The 2023 tournament will be the first Women's World Cup to feature 32 teams, up from 24 at the 2019 tournament, and is expected to be staged from July to August, with the opener likely to be held at Auckland's Eden Park. 

"The bidding process was highly competitive," says FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

"We would like to thank both of the bidders for their remarkable work. It was really, really well prepared.

"We experienced last year in France a fantastic Women's World Cup. It broke all records. It brought women's football to a truly global stage."

The New Zealand and Australia bid had been considered the front-runner in the bid race, having received the higher score of 4.1 in the FIFA evaluation report published earlier this month.

More than 1.1 billion viewers watched last year's tournament in France. The final - between the US and the Netherlands - drew a live audience of 82.18 million and reached a total of 263.62 million unique viewers. 

"The Women' World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand will be ground-breaking in many ways," said a delighted Chris Nikou, president of Football Federation Australia.

"Not only will it be the first ever co-confederation hosted FIFA World Cup and the first ever  Women's World Cup in the Asia-Pacific region, but we will unlock the huge potential for growth in women's football in the Asia-Pacific region."