Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand ‘could be postponed for several months’ next year as European broadcasters wary of losing money
- A French newspaper reported that FIFA was in discussions with European leaders
- A possible delay to the FIFA Women’s 23rd World Cup has reportedly been discussed
- This is because European broadcasters fear the audience and lower revenue
- But the international governing body has played down these suggestions
- Click here for the latest FIFA World Cup 2022 news and updates
FIFA moved quickly to cancel reports that the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand could be postponed in 2023 to please broadcasters in Europe.
French newspaper L’Equipe reported late on Thursday that FIFA and European football bodies had held informal talks about postponing the tournament.
As a result, the tournament will take place during the summer in Australia and New Zealand, and during the winter in Europe.
The tournament is currently scheduled to take place between July 20 and August 20 next year during the winter season in the host countries.
Sam Kerr is the biggest Australian name in women’s football and will be a major draw at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.
The discussions have reportedly come at the request of broadcasters, with the current World Cup schedule seeing revenue drop below 2019 Women’s World Cup levels in France.
Differences in time zones will already see matches played late at night and in the early morning in Europe, while winter is traditionally a period of downturn for ratings as well.
In response to L’Equipe’s report, FIFA said “no changes are expected” to the dates.
“Following a successful ‘one year to go’ event, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is scheduled to kick off on July 20, 2023. No changes are expected to the competition dates,” a FIFA spokesperson said in a statement.
In Sydney last week, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura did not hint at any postponement, as did Jane Fernandez, the tournament’s director of operations.
A lot of effort has gone into getting to this point. “We can’t wait to get started,” Fernandez said.
“The goal is always to do things better, to take this tournament to the next level – we want to see 1.5 million people participating in our matches, and we also want more than 1.5 billion people to watch.”
Mary Fowler is confronted by Katie Bowen during the international friendly match between Australian Matildas and New Zealand Football Club at QCB Stadium in Townsville
Any potential move to the Southern Hemisphere summer could have major ramifications for scheduling and player safety as temperatures soar under the Australian sun.
Australia tied for the hottest day on record earlier this year after the remote coastal town of Onslow in Western Australia recorded temperatures of 50.7 degrees Celsius (123.26 degrees Fahrenheit).
Player safety is measured by a football’s Wet Globe Temperature (WBGT) which takes into account temperature, humidity, wind speed and other factors that can affect players.
FIFA’s current heat policy includes recommendations to stop drink breaks when the WBGT reaches 32 degrees Celsius, while Australian football guidelines could see matches postponed or canceled when the WBGT reaches 28 degrees Celsius.