• Written by Lee McGowan, Senior Lecturer, Queensland University of Technology

Women’s football has never looked better.

1.85 million Australians play football, including over 400,000 women and girls. Over 1 billion people watched the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. Club level matches in England, Spain and Italy draw crowds of over 30,000 people. This coming weekend, England will play to a sold-out Wembly stadium: that’s 90,000 seats.

At home, the Matildas played in front of 17,000 at Penrith in 2017; and W-League matches draw between 4000 and 8000 fans.

This week, the Matildas secured equal pay with the men’s side. This substantial pay rise is a huge win for the women’s team: speaking to feasible career pathways, the strength of the team, and the strength of the game.

Australia is currently bidding to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The campaign, #GetOnside, builds on and supercharges the optimism of our expanding local football community. This latest pay announcement speaks highly to the support Australians have thrown behind the team.

This is Australia’s fourth bid for the cup. In all its energy and enthusiasm, the bid feels brand new. Can our fourth bid to host the tournament put down under on top of the world?

A tale of three bids

In 1995, the Australian Soccer Federation submitted a bid to host the 1999 tournament. Enthusiasm around the impending formation of a national competition – the Women’s National Soccer League – was the likely driver. But the prospect of competing with an American bid boasting a US$30 million bankroll saw the EOI withdrawn in the same year.

Australia tried again in 1999 for the 2003 tournament. This more polished bid included a full colour eight-page brochure with a gush from Prime Minister John Howard about Australia’s natural wonders, clean air and healthy food.

The cover of the eight-page glossy brochure used to promote Australia for the 2003 World Cup. Author provided

During the 1999 Women’s World Cup in Los Angeles, Australian delegates were pre-emptively congratulated on their bid’s success. It wasn’t to be: FIFA awarded the tournament to China. In 2003, an outbreak of SARS caused a last minute change of venue, and the game returned to the 1999 hosts. China hosted in 2007.

Australia had another crack in 2007, for 2011 – only for Football Federation Australia to withdraw and support Germany, in exchange for Germany supporting Australia’s bid to host the 2022 Men’s Cup – which would become one of Australian football’s most infamous stories.


Read more: Scandals are forever for FIFA as World Cup hosting saga drags on


Finance behind women’s bids has never been as fraught. The A$5 million the government has committed to support the 2023 bid is by far its most generous. Even then, to secure a tournament that might generate A$500 million, departing FFA CEO David Gallup has suggested it will require a great deal more investment.

A record number of EOIs have been submitted. The towels of Belgium and Bolivia already lie on the changing room floor. Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and South Korea remain. The Koreas, and Australia and New Zealand, are both exploring joint-hosting.

Formal bids are due in December. The host will be announced in May.

A fierce competitor

Australian fans have never been so connected to the game or in a position to give such a bid their backing. This pay rise is the latest demonstration of their power.

Digital platforms have been critical in growing audiences for women’s sport. Sports journalist and campaign coordinator for Australia’s World Cup bid, Ann Odong, says “the ability for independent media to shine a light on the game has been key to its visibility.”

With live streaming, independent fan groups, and dynamic advocates, online spaces are generating huge following and interest – in Australia, and around the world.

In the US, the Portland Thorns average 20,000 a game as a result of their community. At home, the newly established Brisbane Roar fan group @TheRoarCorps aim to follow their lead.

On November 9 and 12, the Matilda’s will play two friendly games against Chile in Sydney and Adelaide. Match attendances will play a huge part in showing how important the game is here – and demonstrating Australia’s support for the 2023 cup.

Football is about community

The Matildas are our nation’s most loved team. They vibrantly represent the rich diversity and inclusivity the game wholeheartedly offers.

The Women’s World Cup is the world’s largest female sporting event. Tickets sales, sponsorship and media presence would bring lucrative economic benefits.

But there are benefits, too, in the way the women’s game challenges the way we collectively think about sport, such as the fight for gender equity and in building community. The 2019 cup in France was “a turning point”: amplifying the profile of elite women’s sport on a global scale.

Australia’s 2023 bid is centred on the value of community engagement and legacy-building. It offers a vibrant, joyful charm and ensures unused stadiums won’t haunt our cities.

More importantly, it demonstrates what FIFA most want to see: women’s football is taken seriously in Australia – and it pulls a serious crowd.

Lee McGowan's research project, 'with the ball at HER feet', has received support from Football Queensland, Brisbane City Council, Queensland University of Technology.

Authors: Lee McGowan, Senior Lecturer, Queensland University of Technology

Read more http://theconversation.com/australia-wants-to-host-the-2023-fifa-womens-world-cup-equal-pay-for-the-matildas-will-help-our-chances-125564

Switch It Up: What’s the Relationship Between Lighting and Your Work Performance

It’s no secret that light has an immense impact on the way our bodies function on a daily basis. Light is closely linked to our circadian rhythms or our ‘built-in clocks’, and as such, it larg...

Lilly Miller - avatar Lilly Miller

How to Get Rid of Rats?

Do you suffer from scratching noise in the night or find strange signs such as gnawed pieces of wooden furniture or droppings in your house? Then, you have to prepare for an unpleasant fight with ro...

News Company - avatar News Company

VIDEO: Michelle Grattan on an extended travel ban, a royal commission, and zero emissions by 2050

Michelle Grattan talks with Assistant Professor Caroline Fisher about the week in politics, including the extension of the coronavirus travel ban, the royal commission into the bushfires, and labor&rs...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

I've seriously tried to believe capitalism and the planet can coexist, but I've lost faith

RAJAT GUPTA/EPAThis article is the first in a three-part series on radical ideas to solve the environmental crisis. As the Productivity Commission confirmed this week, Australia’s economy has ...

Samuel Alexander, Research fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne - avatar Samuel Alexander, Research fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne

What is hypnobirthing, the technique the Duchess of Cambridge used?

In a new parenting podcast, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, said she used hypnobirthing techniques to help her get through severe morning sickness – a condition called hyperemesis gravidaru...

Mary Steen, Professor of Midwifery, University of South Australia - avatar Mary Steen, Professor of Midwifery, University of South Australia

Memories overboard! What the law says about claiming compensation for a holiday gone wrong

FRANCK ROBICHON/EPAWhen booking a luxury cruise, you generally expect relaxation and enjoyment, not forced quarantine and distress. Unfortunately, for the thousands of vacationers trapped on cruise s...

Mark Giancaspro, Lecturer in Law, University of Adelaide - avatar Mark Giancaspro, Lecturer in Law, University of Adelaide

Without more detail, it's premature to say voluntary assisted dying laws in Victoria are 'working well'

ShutterstockThe Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board has this week published a report detailing the first six months of the legislation in action in Victoria. The report reveals 52 people legally e...

Courtney Hempton, Associate Research Fellow, Deakin University - avatar Courtney Hempton, Associate Research Fellow, Deakin University

I've always wondered: who would win in a fight between the Black Mamba and the Inland Taipan?

Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-NDThis is an article from I’ve Always Wondered, a series where readers send in questions they’d like an expert to answer. Send your question to always...

Timothy N. W. Jackson, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Australian Venom Research Unit, University of Melbourne - avatar Timothy N. W. Jackson, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Australian Venom Research Unit, University of Melbourne

Australia, we need to talk about who governs our city-states

Benny Marty/ShutterstockIn 1971, a Time magazine article, titled “Should New York City Be the 51st State?”, observed: States have not only short-changed and hamstrung their cities but a...

Benjamen Franklen Gussen, Lecturer in Law, Swinburne University of Technology - avatar Benjamen Franklen Gussen, Lecturer in Law, Swinburne University of Technology

Sick and Tired of Your Dead End Job? Try Teaching!

Tired of the same old grind at the office? Want an opportunity to impact lives both in your community and around the world? Do you love to travel and have new experiences? Teaching English is the perfect job for you! All you need is a willingness to ...

News Company - avatar News Company

The Impact of an Aging Population in Australia

There’s an issue on the horizon that Australia needs to prepare for. The portion of elderly citizens that make up the country’s overall population is increasing, and we might not have the infrastructure in place to support this. Australians h...

News Company - avatar News Company