A consortium including Spanish-owned ACCIONA has been named the preferred proponent to complete major works on Western Australia’s largest transport infrastructure project.
Australia and New Zealand will host the 2023 women’s World Cup after the countries’ joint bid was chosen by FIFA on Thursday, with New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, promising “a historic tournament of firsts”.
The overwhelming favourites beat their only remaining rival Colombia after Japan withdrew its own bid earlier in the week. Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and a joint Korean proposal had already fallen by the wayside.
The joint bid received 22 of the 35 valid votes cast by FIFA Council members in the first ballot. The Colombian Football Association obtained 13 votes, which included the backing of UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and several European members.
The 2023 tournament is set to be the first 32-team women’s World Cup, up from the 24 nations who competed at last year’s finals in France, won by the United States.
It will be the ninth women’s World Cup.
“It will be a historic tournament of firsts that will create a profound and enduring legacy for women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond,” Ardern said in a statement.
Australia’s women’s captain Sam Kerr posted footage on Twitter of her trademark tumbling backflip goal celebration and declared: “We did it, we freaking did it”.
Her New Zealand counterpart Ali Riley tweeted a close-up selfie, with tears in her eyes and the caption: “I will never forget this moment”.
The joint proposal by Australia and New Zealand will see games played in 13 venues across 12 cities in July and August 2023, with the opening match at Eden Park in Auckland and the final in Sydney.
Seven cities in Australia will host games, and five in New Zealand. Two stadiums will be used in Sydney. Four groups will be based in each country during the first phase.
Football Federation Australia chairman Chris Nikou said the tournament would be “groundbreaking in many ways” and that it would “unlock the huge potential for growth in women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region”.
Thursday’s vote came at a video-conference meeting of the members of the FIFA Council as football, and global sport in general, struggles to get back on its feet in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Australia and New Zealand bid was given the highest score, of 4.1 out of five, in an evaluation by world football’s governing body published earlier this month.
It was followed by Japan, on 3.9, but the Japanese bid was withdrawn on Monday, with the head of the country’s football association, Kozo Tajima, noting that key support was moving towards Australia and New Zealand.
In addition, he admitted that Japan’s focus was on hosting next year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
FIFA’s evaluation report gave Colombia a score of just 2.8 out of five as it raised doubts about the ability to provide investment required to carry out “necessary improvements” and also highlighted security worries in the South American country.
For New Zealand, the successful bid comes after the country already secured the rights to host the women’s cricket and rugby World Cups next year.
Australia and New Zealand both already have considerable experience when it comes to hosting major international sporting events.
Australia hosted the men’s Asian Cup in 2015, with New Zealand hosting the men’s under-20 World Cup in the same year.
In addition, Australia has hosted the Summer Olympics twice, in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.
Both countries have recently hosted the men’s Rugby World Cup having also jointly organised the first edition of that competition in 1987.
They also jointly staged the 1992 and 2015 Cricket World Cups.
Australia are seventh in the FIFA women’s world rankings, but the Matildas have never been beyond the quarter-finals at the World Cup and lost on penalties to Norway in the last 16 last year.
New Zealand’s “Football Ferns” have never been beyond the group stage and in 2023 will be hoping to win a game at the finals for the first time.
A Coronavirus vaccine – it’s what the whole world is hoping for – as it becomes clear that it could be the only way out of this global crisis.
Among the many, frantic efforts by scientists around the world to find one in record time – Oxford University, where human volunteers are now involved in clinical trials run by the Oxford Vaccine Group and the Jenner Institute.
One of those volunteers has been recording a video diary of his experiences for Channel 4 News.
Rachel and Daniel Weeks were prepared for isolation long before Australia’s coronavirus restrictions came into place, and it had nothing to do with the disease.
The couple has spent the past two months on a far-flung island in the middle of the Bass Strait and they say the timing could not have been better.
It was about four years ago that Daniel spotted a social media post calling for volunteers to take up a post on Deal Island.
Known as Tasmania’s northern-most national park, access to the island about halfway between Wilsons Promontory in Victoria and Flinders Island north of Tasmania is limited to those who come by sea.
The charter plane airport was closed because it was too dangerous.
To volunteer on the island seemed a far-fetched dream at times for them, as the two have full-time jobs and children at home.
But Daniel could not let go of the idea, and so he and Rachel put in an application.
Three years later, the Adelaide-based couple found themselves carrying out their social isolation at the edge of the world.
“We thought there was probably never a good time to do it so we just sort of bit the bullet and did it,” said Rachel.
“Turns out it was actually the perfect time to do it.”
Rachel and Daniel arrived on Deal Island on March 3 and whilst COVID-19 was flooding the news, Australia had yet to put in place its strict restrictions.
“There was certainly no talk of any sort of lockdowns,” Rachel said.
“It all seemed to happen within about a week of us arriving.
The couple had been preparing for isolation for about four months, but they couldn’t have predicted that the rest of Australia would go into isolation too.
“The things that we thought we’d miss out on have all come to a halt, so we’re not really missing out on anything,” Rachel said.
“Because everybody is going through isolation at home, all the social media posts, people posting recipes for bread and things like that, we’ve actually found quite handy.
She said whilst they were worried about family and friends back home, isolating on the island was a far better option.
“We just can’t believe how lucky we are because we’ve got miles and miles of walking tracks,” she said.
“We can go hiking, we can go down to the beach, we can have barbeques on the beach whenever the weather allows.”
But it is not all picnics and walks.
During their three months on the island, the couple must maintain the historic buildings and walking tracks.
“The lighthouse was built in the late 1840s and it’s the highest lighthouse in the southern hemisphere. It’s no longer running, but there’s all beautiful ruins around that,” Rachel said.
“There’s quite a few buildings that we just have to maintain and do any repairs that we can do.”
The only thing that has changed is that the island is receiving far fewer kayakers and yachties.
“We’re probably more isolated than we expected, so as a result we have lots of scone mix, which we haven’t used,” laughed Rachel.
“We were told you could trade with the yachties if you baked them scones.”
As for the island, they’ve fallen in love with it.
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling to know that there’s just no one. No one else but you and the elements and the wildlife,” she said.
“We definitely consider ourselves very lucky to be sitting out the isolation here.
“We couldn’t have picked a better time in the end to do it.”