FIFA committed to sports participation equality in Victoria

Melbourne/Naarm, the coastal capital of the south-eastern Australian state of Victoria, was the third destination for a FIFA delegation visiting stakeholders in Australia and New Zealand, joint hosts of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023. Upon arrival, the delegation, led by FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, met with representatives from tourism, sport and the arts to discuss the preparations underway in the city to welcome female footballers and their fans from all over the world for six games: four Group Stage matches and two Round of 16 matches of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 02: Fatma Samoura (R) poses for a photograph with Patrick Flannigan, Chairperson at Melbourne & Olympic Parks, during a tour of Melbourne Rectangular Stadium as part of a FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 host city tour on May 02, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/FIFA via Getty Images)

CEO of Visit Victoria, Brendan McClements, briefed the FIFA Secretary General on the Garden City’s experience in welcoming tourists from around the world to major sporting and cultural events including the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix and the recent Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. His sentiment was echoed by Peter Betson, Associate Deputy Secretary, Sport Recreation and Racing of the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions. Kimon Taliadoros, CEO Football Victoria and Sarah Styles, Office of Women in Sport and Recreation underlined their excitement around the creativity, innovation and ability to empower girls and women to get involved in football that the ninth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup will bring to the state of Victoria.

Janet Whiting AM, Chair of Visit Victoria Board, President of the Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria, Co-Chair of the Bid Committee Commonwealth Games, outlined the arts and cultural facilities Melbourne has to offer football fans visiting for next year’s competition, highlighting exhibitions dedicated to indigenous art. The FIFA delegation then met with the Governor of Victoria, Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC at Government House the following day. Talks focused on how the Victorian authorities could best support FIFA in taking the tournament experience Beyond Greatness for all involved and further female empowerment through football.

Speaking following her meeting with the Victorian Governor the FIFA Secretary General said: “Melbourne, a city rich in sport and culture is a fantastic choice as a FIFA Women’s World Cup Host City. Women’s football is rapidly expanding here and we look forward to helping Football Victoria grow participation numbers to achieve 50:50 participation by 2027. Fans coming to the Garden City will have a festival of football and a feast of culture to look forward to next year.” A visit to Melbourne Rectangular Stadium followed where the group met with the Honourable Martin Pakula, Minister for Industry Support and Recovery, Trade, Business Precincts, Tourism, Sport and Major Events and Racing, to take a tour of the 30,000+ capacity venue.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 02: Fatma Samoura (L) poses for a photograph with Martin Pakula, Minister for Tourism, Sport & Major Events, during a tour of Melbourne Rectangular Stadium as part of a FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 host city tour on May 02, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/FIFA via Getty Images)

Melbourne Rectangular Stadium features arches and curving roofline which will provide FIFA Women’s World Cup fans with an uninterrupted view of the action unfolding on the pitch. Along with providing a world-class experience for players and fans, the stadium is also committed to promoting, practising, and embedding environmental sustainability its planning and operations, working consciously to minimise waste and reduce water and energy production. It uses a range of smart solutions ventilation, heating and cooling to minimise energy consumption, while rainwater is harvested and treated onsite to be reused for irrigation. The venue is ideally located just a short walk from both Melbourne’s CBD and lively Richmond, with train and tram services offering a range of public transport options to the door.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 17: A general view during the 2015 A-League Grand Final match between the Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC at AAMI Park on May 17, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)