Opinion

Australia seeks a vote of confidence in Women's World Cup ballot

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Australian football has a lot more to gain from winning the right to hold the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup than meets the eye.

If the FIFA Council chooses Australia and New Zealand as joint hosts of the most important event in women's football, the game in these parts of the world would receive a turbo-charge the like of which we have never seen.

The countries standing in the way of a 'Trans-Tasman' 32-team football fest to take place roughly at this time of the year in three years are Colombia and Japan.

Football Federation Australia has said it is quietly confident of landing the big prize that will be determined in the early hours of Friday at the end of an on-line poll among the council's 37 members including FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

It is the second time that Australia is going for a senior World Cup.

FFA's attempt at winning the staging rights to the men's 2022 World Cup a decade ago ended in an embarrassing defeat that jolted the confidence of the whole football family in Australia.

Our game at club and national level was going great guns at the time but the 'one vote fiasco' sent shockwaves among the community and sparked a round of indignation, ridicule and recriminations and perhaps a realisation that Australia - despite its good intentions - is indeed a small player in the shark-infested pool that is the world game.

Most Australians felt we were the underdogs but nobody would have imagined that Australia would get only one vote, rumoured to be from Germany's Franz Beckenbauer.

It was a massive psychological hit on our morale and a painful reality check as to where we stand in world football politics.

It is no coincidence that the game in Australia never really recovered from that humiliating debacle on 3 December 2010 although it is hard to ascertain if the Zurich vote was directly responsible.

The Socceroos boosted Australia's image in Asia by emulating the Matildas' 2010 Asian Cup win by landing the continental title in 2015.

Yet if Australia this week is given FIFA's blessing to stage the women's blue riband event, our reputation abroad will have received a huge and much-needed shot in the arm.

Victory over the Colombians and Japanese would restore the confidence and good feeling about our game that was prevalent in the immediate pre-2010 days.

Who knows what our game could achieve with a reassuring belief that we have been trusted by FIFA to run one of its major events.

To put things into perspective, the last World Cup in France in 2019 was watched by an accumulative television audience of 1.12 billion.

A successful women's World Cup that draws tens of millions of viewers worldwide could persuade FFA to make another bid for the men's equivalent event with runs on the board and the knowledge that we could be trusted by FIFA to do a good job at it.

There is a lot riding on Friday's vote.