Australia’s 2023 Women’s World Cup bid hinges on AFC endorsement — FFA president

FFA president Chris Nikou has hinted at the challenges facing Australia in its determination to host the Women’s World Cup in 2023, beginning with endorsement from Asian colleagues.

But one that may not be present is the clash with local sporting codes, with FIFA indicating it would be open to a tournament later in the year.

Australia has its hand up to stage the next event after this June’s edition in France, where the Matildas are expected to challenge for a maiden title.

Asian powerhouse Japan is bidding for the 2023 Cup. A joint bid from North and South Korea may also be in the works.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has encouraged a Korean bid and will know whether he’s been successful in garnering interest on Friday, when the first deadline arrives.

Hopeful nations — which will also include Colombia and South Africa — have been asked to submit expressions of interest by March 15.

Nikou says Australia’s primary task will be galvanising support from the Asian confederation.

“We need to position ourselves as the number one bid coming out of the AFC; that’s important,” he said.

“We’ve got some international trips coming up so we’ll feel the lie of the land.”

The politics of football is notoriously shadowy and none more so in the Asian Football Confederation.

Here, Nikou will have his work cut out as in a month’s time the AFC have elections, including for the presidency, that Australia will need to vote for.

Those negotiations may include support for candidates, bids or the growth of the men’s World Cup to 48 teams.

“Our position in Asia, my view is it’s more fragile than it should be,” Nikou said.

“We have good friends and support to the East. We’re not that well liked to the West.

“Maybe a 48-team [men’s] World Cup starts to change that dialogue because there’s more spots for the AFC.”