SYDNEY (AFP) – Football Australia on Friday (July 29) dismissed claims that the Women’s World Cup it will co-host next year with New Zealand could be shifted to satisfy European broadcasters and ensure better weather conditions.
The scenario was raised by French newspaper L’Equipe on Thursday, which said the sport’s governing body Fifa had informally approached “several” European football bodies to discuss the merits of moving the event closer to the southern hemisphere summer.
The 32-team tournament is scheduled to start on July 20.
L’Equipe said lower-than-expected TV rights interest from European broadcasters was a key motivation, given matches would be played early morning for them and August was seen as an unfavourable month with people on vacation.
The report also pointed to extra daylight hours in the Australian summer.
Football Australia said in a brief statement to AFP it was not planning for any change.
“Following recent ‘One Year To Go’ celebrations across Australia and New Zealand, Football Australia continues to plan towards the Fifa Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 kicking off in July next year as scheduled,” it said.
The Sydney Morning Herald cited a Fifa spokesman with an almost identical comment, but added: “No changes to the dates of the competition are foreseen.”
Fifa secretary-general Fatma Samoura was in Australia last month to mark the one-year countdown, saying she was expecting a “truly unforgettable” event and giving no hint of any change of plans.
The month-long tournament will take place in five Australian and four New Zealand cities. The draw is scheduled in Auckland on Oct 22.
The United States won the 2019 edition in France.