An ACT Government spokesperson has defended the Territory’s decision not to bid for games in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, saying it’s too late for the ACT Liberals to push for it.
The comments follow criticism from ACT Liberals Leader Alistair Coe, who labelled the ACT Labor Government’s decision not to bid as “disappointing” and vowed to put Canberra back into the race.
“It is too late for a push for Canberra to host Women’s FIFA World Cup matches,” the spokesperson said.
“After comprehensive analysis of the bidding documentation, the actual cost to the Territory was potentially going to be much higher than expected and there was no guarantee that the ACT would see games played by the Matildas.”
The announcement that Australia and New Zealand would co-host the FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup came late last week.
While Canberra decided not to bid to have match games held in the Territory, there are hopes it could be used as a training hub.
The spokesperson said it had instead invested in Throsby’s Home of Football, which is set to be fully operational during 2021.
“The ACT Government has invested $43.5 million over the last four years supporting a range of football activities including a $20 million investment in the Home of Football to be built in Throsby.”
They said the Home of Football will deliver supporting event content such as the Socceroos qualifier, which was played in October 2019 at GIO Stadium, and a Matildas game (opponent and dates currently under discussion), and a young Matildas game.
Mr Coe said on Monday it was “interesting” cost was the issue, stating the government was “willing to pay $1 million for the Giants (AFL) each game”.
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held across Australia and New Zealand, with stadiums in Sydney, Perth, Newcastle, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane to host matches held in Australia.
There was previous speculation about whether Canberra Stadium would be deemed suitable to hold any games, however it was never reviewed for the event.
“FIFA have not reviewed the Canberra Stadium for technical compliance,” the spokesperson said.
“It is difficult to estimate the full costs associated with FIFA specification, however, some of the costs would have included match content fees, enhancements to security across all sites, for event overlay, broadcast and technology requirements, player facilities, hospitality and pre-tournament events.”