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FIFA ranks Australia-NZ bid as best for 2023 Women’s World Cup

Australia and New Zealand's dream to host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup has come to fruition as the two nations unite for a history-making tournament.

The Australia-New Zealand bid to co-host the 2023 Women’s World Cup has been rated the best by FIFA, according to the governing body’s bid evaluation report.

FIFA awarded the Australasian bid 4.1 points from a maximum of five in the report, with contenders Japan scoring 3.9 and Colombia 2.8.

The joint bid was labelled “the most commercially favourable proposition” by FIFA, which will give Australian and New Zealand football fans a sense of belief that a World Cup on home soil may soon be a reality.

FFA Chairman Chris Nikou was pleased with the details of FIFA’s report.

“I am delighted that we have scored so strongly in FIFA’s Bid Evaluation Report and been described as offering ‘the most favourable commercial proposition’,” he said.

“We are confident that our combination of technical excellence, record breaking crowds, commercial certainty, a warm embrace from our 200 different cultures and genuine impact across the region where the legacies will be profound will prove a compelling offer to FIFA and its confederations.

“We are two nations from two confederations, united in proposing a historic and exciting step forward for world football.  It will be a tournament of firsts. The first ever co-confederation hosted FIFA World Cup, the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in the Asia-Pacific region, and the first ever to be held in the southern hemisphere.”

NZF President Johanna Wood said:

“We hosted a very successful inspection visit (in February) and we are delighted by today’s FIFA Bid Evaluation Report which reinforces our belief that we would host a technically excellent FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

“The report demonstrates many of our key strengths and we are very pleased to have received the highest overall average score of 4.1 out of 5. If successful, we will place the interests of the greatest female footballers in the world at the centre of everything we do, to deliver a FIFA Women’s World Cup the global football family can be proud of.

“With technical excellence, commercial certainty and a historic tournament of firsts, Australia-New Zealand offers FIFA a unique opportunity to move the dial for women’s football. We have proven this before and can be trusted to achieve this again.

“In addition, we are nations proud of our commitment to equality and fairness and would embody a FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 built on common humanity through football.”

The FIFA Council will decide the host of the 2023 Women’s World Cup on June 25.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Football West CEO James Curtis steps down to usher in new leadership

Football West

Football West have announced that James Curtis will be stepping down from his position as Chief Executive Officer, after more than five years in the role. As he makes his transition, Football West have now commenced their succession planning.

The decision taken by Curtis reaffirms Football West’s dedication as an organisation to fostering long-term growth through the benefits provided by leadership succession.

Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes praised Curtis’ strong leadership and commitment to delivering a long-term legacy for football in Western Australia, since commencing in the role in 2016.

“James has been an outstanding CEO and his focus on driving long-term growth, investment and community benefit have contributed to a bright future for football,” Andrawes said.

“His commitment to working with all parts of the WA community and government to engage with football and being a leader driving diversity, inclusion and engagement has ensured football is positioned well for the future of the game.

“With significant achievements including funding for the long-awaited WA State Football Centre, securing the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in WA and establishing the Football Futures Foundation, there have been many successes during his tenure.”

Curtis conveyed that it was the right time to step down from the role and to transition leadership, with Football West strongly positioned for leveraging record growth.

“We have built a great team across Western Australia that is well positioned to continue building on our strong foundations. After more than five years in the position and rebuilding from the impact of COVID-19, we are ready for a new CEO to implement and deliver our future strategy,” Curtis said.

“I have enjoyed working closely with our Board and our valued partners across government, corporate and the football community to deliver major milestones for the game in WA and establish strong partnerships across Asia for WA football.

“We have a vibrant and passionate football community that will continue to grow on the back of strong clubs and volunteers and our dedicated Football West team.”

Curtis will continue his involvement with football as a Non-Executive Director of Football Futures Foundation – which is chaired by Nick Tana, and supporting the transition to find the new CEO.

Football West has commenced an internal and external search for the company’s next CEO.

Football Victoria promotion denial set for challenge

Football Victoria has announced that it will only be filling existing vacancies, resisting the challenge from the United Football Group of Clubs to push ahead with promotion and relegation.

Football Victoria has announced that it will only be filling existing vacancies, resisting the challenge from the United Football Group of Clubs to push ahead with promotion and relegation.

Football Victoria announced the cancellation of the remainder of the season in Metropolitan Melbourne on September 3 2021, in which it also revealed that promotion and relegation would not proceed.

Since that announcement, over 40 clubs had joined forces, assembling under the United Football Group of Clubs (United Football) banner, to challenge the decision.

As revealed by Soccerscene last month, United Football made a formal submission to Football Victoria, presenting three options for consideration by the board:

  1. Promotion and Recognition of Champions based on current standings or points per matches played method, with or without relegation.
  2. Restructure of the leagues to achieve the desired effect of promotion/relegation, completed in line with the 2021 Football Australia Performance Gap Report.
  3. Align with Football Victoria principles and fixture the outstanding games between teams who have not played against each other to complete the season and award promotion and relegation. Given the current COVID situation, it is recognised that this may be the least likely scenario.

In its announcement this afternoon, Football Victoria has seemingly turned down all three options.

“Football Victoria (FV) can confirm it will proceed with filling existing and resulting vacancies across our Men’s and Women’s State League competitions, in accordance with the 2021 Rules of Competition,” reads the statement on the Football Victoria website.

“Under item 10.4 in the Men’s State League (1-4) and item 15.7 in the Women’s State League (1-4) 2021 Rules of Competition, the FV Board confirms that vacancies will be filled using the Order of Merit process. Men’s & Women’s State League 5 competition vacancies will be filled by using the New Club Application or Team Entry process.

“With the 2021 season being deemed incomplete, only Men’s and Women’s State League vacancies will be filled in 2022, with NPL Victoria optimal league structures to be considered from the 2023 season.

“Average Points Per Game (total points divided by number of games played) at the point the 2021 season was cancelled will be used to determine final ladder positions in 2021 and inform the Order of Merit. Further detail on the Order of Merit process is available here.”

The ruling means that the current NPL Victoria structure will remain in place, whilst in the State Leagues below, only existing vacancies will be filled.

In the Men’s State Leagues, one team across State Leagues 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be promoted, whilst four teams will enter State League 5 via a new club application process.

In the Women’s competition, one team will be promoted from State League 2 to 1, two will be promoted from State League 3 to 2, three teams will be promoted from State League 4 to 3, four teams will be promoted from State League 5 to 4, whilst five new clubs will enter State League 5 via a new club application process.

The Football Victoria statement sets a deadline of 5pm Monday October 25, 2021 to implement these changes.

The United Football Group of Clubs met last night to discuss the decision, with chairperson Zak Gruevski confirming the clubs intend to take the matter further.

“The Football Victoria statement yesterday effectively dismissed the range of options put forward by the United Football Group of Clubs,” he told Soccerscene.

“As a group, we are very disappointed and believe this decision is not in the best interests of the game, particularly given indications that a restructure of the game was being considered as a reasonable outcome.

“Our clubs met overnight and we are seeking the appropriate counsel to pursue this matter further.”

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