Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand ‘could be POSTPONED by several months’ next year because European broadcasters are worried about losing money
- A French newspaper has reported that FIFA is in discussions with Euro leaders
- Potentially delaying the ’23 Women’s World Cup has reportedly been discussed
- This is because European broadcasters fear an audience and revenue plunge
- The international governing body has played down those suggestions, though
- Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
FIFA has moved quickly to quash reports the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 could be postponed to appease broadcasters in Europe.
The French newspaper L’Équipe reported late on Thursday that FIFA and European football bodies had held informal talks about delaying the tournament.
As a result, the tournament would be played during summertime in Australia and New Zealand, and during wintertime in Europe.
The tournament is currently scheduled to be held between July 20 and August 20 next year, during wintertime in the host countries.
Sam Kerr is Australia’s biggest name in women’s football and will be a major draw card at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023
The discussions have reportedly come about at the behest of broadcasters, with the current scheduling of the World Cup to see revenue drop to below the levels of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.
Time zone differences will already see matches played late at night and early in the morning in Europe, while winter is traditionally a drop-off period for ratings as well.
In response to the report by L’Équipe, FIFA said ‘no changes are foreseen’ to the dates.
‘After a successful ‘One Year to Go’ event, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is scheduled to kick off on 20 July 2023. No changes to the dates of the competition are foreseen,’ a FIFA spokesperson said in a statement.
In Sydney last week, FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura did not hint at a postponement, and neither did the tournament’s chief operating officer Jane Fernandez.
‘So much effort has gone into getting to this point. And we just can’t wait to kick it off,’ 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 attendees at our matches, we want to have over 1.5 billion people watching as well.’
Mary Fowler is tackled by Katie Bowen during the International friendly match between the Australian Matildas and the New Zealand Football Ferns at QCB Stadium in Townsville
Any potential move to the southern hemisphere summer could have major ramifications for scheduling and player safety with temperatures set to soar under the Australian sun.
Australia equalled its hottest day on record earlier this year after the remote coastal town of Onslow in Western Australia reported temperatures of 50.7C (123.26F).
Player safety is measured by wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) in football which takes into account temperature, humidity, wind speed and other factors that can influence players.
The current FIFA heat policy includes recommendations that drinks breaks are held when the WBGT reaches 32C while Football Australia guidelines can see matches postponed or cancelled when the WBGT reaches 28C.