Tag Archives: FIFA

Australia and New Zealand Awarded 2023 Women’s World Cup

Australia and New Zealand will host the next edition of the Women’s World Cup in 2023, FIFA announced yesterday, after a long day of deliberation.

The two countries united to launch the ‘As One’ bid to host the tournament and they saw off a counter bid from Colombia to win the right to stage the tournament, the first which will be held over two continents, as Australia are in the Asia confederation whilst New Zealand are part of the Oceania confederation.

Australia and New Zealand’s ‘As One’ bid won 22 of the 35 votes cast by FIFA Council Members, as Colombia won 13. The South American country was the only rival for hosting the tournament after Japan and Brazil had pulled out of the race.

FIFA’s technical evaluation of Australia and New Zealand’s bid marked at 4.1 out of 5 compared to Colombia’s score of just 2.8.

The 2023 edition of the Women’s World Cup will be the first tournament to feature 32 countries, an increase from the current 24 sides, and in line with the format of the Men’s World Cup.

Australia and New Zealand have put forward the stadiums they plan to use for the tournament, which runs from July-August 2023, with eight grounds in Australia and five in New Zealand touted, in a total of twelve cities.

Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Newcastle, Launceston to be the Australian hosts whilst Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin will be used for the fixtures scheduled to take place in New Zealand, alongside Auckland. The first game will take place at Eden Park in Auckland, with the final set to take place in Sydney.

President of Football Federation Australia, Chris Nikou, told the BBC the forthcoming competition will be “ground-breaking”.

Nikou added:

“Not only will it be the first ever co-confederation hosted Fifa World Cup and the first ever Fifa Women’s World Cup in the Asia-Pacific region, but we will unlock the huge potential for growth in women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region.”

The president of New Zealand Football, Johanna Wood, said:

“We believe we have been given a treasure, and we will look after that treasure.”

The decision to award Australia and New Zealand represents a huge boost to women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region, and a number of players took to social media to express their joy at the announcement.

Australia Captain and Chelsea star Sam Kerr tweeted:

While, New Zealand defender CJ Bott said:

“The tournament going to be the absolute pinnacle and highlight of our careers.”

Both countries will be looking to better their previous showings at the World Cup now that it will be on home soil. The Matildas were eliminated from last year’s tournament on penalties in their last sixteen tie against Norway but will fancy their chances of winning their first World Cup crown with their hime fans behind them.

New Zealand meanwhile, will looking to progress past the group stage, having failed to make it out of their group in any of their previous World Cup appearances.

With football already Australia’s most popular team sport, the exposure, media attention and investment that hosting a World Cup will bring will certainly boost women’s football and it’s profile Down Under.

It will undoubtedly lead to a spike in the number of girls and women who take up the sport at grassroots level in both Australia and New Zealand and help to put football in Asia, a continent often over looked, on the map once again.

Want to here more about women’s football and the World Cup 2023 bid? Then feel free to have a listen to our new podcast episode by clicking on link here: https://soundcloud.com/adam-stephens-425096853/24-7-football-second-podcast


Another fine mess from FIFA

A grassroots football club from Belfast has been hit with a staggering CHF 10.000 Swiss Francs (£8.5k) fine due to, what is essentially, an admin technicality over the registration of a talented young footballer.

TW Braga is a youth focussed, but football for all, club and academy that aims to provide quality coaching and education in addition to competitive games for their young footballers. Previously TW Academy struck up a rapport with the youth department of Primeira Liga side SC Braga. Following exchanges on coaching courses and a shared approach on development ideas, a unique affiliation and concept resulted in TW Braga. This also meant that they were able to transcend the traditional political lines in Northern Ireland that would create a welcoming and inclusive home of football for those from all backgrounds. In a very unwelcome and untimely situation during the current Covid-19 pandemic, world governing body FIFA have made a damning oversight by inflicting a heavy and disproportionate sanction on TW Braga. 

The reason for the fine is very disappointing yet there is much positivity in the background of the story due to the prominence and potential of a young trailblazing player who has certainly caught the eye. 

The Talented Protagonist

New York born Hassan Ayari came to the attention of TW Braga Academy Director Tim Wareing via a YouTube skills reel and following contact and participation in their programmes, his family had such a positive impression of the project and Northern Ireland overall.  They subsequently decided to uproot from the USA so that Ayari could pursue his dreams as a fully fledged member of the TW Braga set-up. In 2013 when the move materialised, the player was registered with the local league set-up in a ‘normal’ way by virtue of his Mother’s Lithuanian background. He therefore had travelled to Northern Ireland on an EU passport. Ayari’s progression included spells with Irish League sides Ards and Cliftonville. He returned to TW Braga before sealing a move to the academy of Sheffield United in 2018. The talented teenager is currently part of the Blades Academy U18 squad.

However, TW Braga have been hit with the hammer blow fine. FIFA stipulated that the correct registration processes were not followed after the transatlantic switch and Hassan Ayari needed international clearance, which never happened. The devastating news was received by Wareing in an email from FIFA, which has resulted in an existential threat to the viability of the whole club. The story has been picked up across the local media in Northern Ireland with outlets including: BBC NI Sport, UTV and Belfast Telegraph. Sky Sports News also ran the story as did O Jogo, the Portugese daily sports newspaper. 

The Director’s Response

24/7 Football spoke to Tim Wareing of TW Braga for more insight and to get an update on the response.  

24/7 – FIFA have set out a 30 day period for this fine to be paid. What is the outlook if this draconian fine is not paid within that time frame?

TW – “ We don’t know.  We asked for the grounds of the fine to be sent from FIFA, which has not haven’t arrived. We simply don’t have the money as a small grassroots club.  I haven’t worked from 18 March due to the Covid-19 virus as all coaching has stopped but I have continued to offer free online zoom training sessions from my back garden and from our YouTube channel.

Will they ban us from competing in Europe?  Will they ban us from competing in the Irish FA Small Sided Games program?  Who knows.  We had to have a plan b so we set up a GoFundMe page.  The generosity of people has been so humbling and offered our family, our club and all the players such a lift.  

24/7 – Tell us a bit more on the link-up with SC Braga.

TW – The Braga project started in July 2013. Hugo Vicente was the assistant academy director at SC Braga. We met previously on a coaching trip in Holland in 2009 (at the time he was working at Benfica). We became good friends & kept in contact. I visited him & SC Braga. Then we helped set up for Braga to come play in a tournament in Dublin. In preparation they came to Belfast to play my TW Academy. We drew 1-1 with SC Braga. Hugo couldn’t believe at the time the kids only came in for one training session per week & all played for different clubs. He said can you imagine what you can achieve if you have access to them three-four times per week & your own club! 

The concept was born then.  Due to the political divide in Northern Ireland we didn’t want to call our team after an area in Belfast. We wanted to be a club open to all. So linking our community program, TW Sports, with SC Braga we became known as TW Braga. We have players that come from all over Northern Ireland. Braga’s name from Portugal is bringing children from Protestant & Catholic areas together. I’m not sure SC Braga realise the positive impact & how their club brings children together in Northern Ireland.

We have teams from U6-U14, an over 40’s team, a disability team and a community programme offering Toddler Soccer (ages 2-5), Mini Soccer (ages 5 +) and a schools programme. 

24/7 – What potential knock on impact could this have on your young footballers in the academy? 

TW – We are confident we can raise the amount but imagine if we didn’t have to find that sort of money from people who are struggling up and down the country. Imagine instead if that money could be invested into the club how that would benefit our players!

24/7 – What message would you aim to relay to FIFA, at this stage? 

“When I was a kid I was so excited when I heard FIFA as that meant the World Cup or the new game for the Sega!  Now, they are so far detached from the grassroots game it is disgusting. If they were to send someone from their plush offices in Switzerland to see the impact our programme has in young people’s lives in Northern Ireland they might rethink.  Our programme isn’t just about football it is about people. It unites Protestant and Catholic children and their parents together.  Our slogan is ‘Creating Better Players, Better People.’ maybe FIFA should come and learn some important values from us.

Having said that it turns out we have broken a rule.  That can’t be ignored and I don’t wish to ignore that fact.  I believe the only thing we are guilty of is being naïve. We weren’t aware of the rule, we were misguided as a grassroots club.  I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus as that’s what has been done with us. The same player has been registered four times with three clubs in Northern Ireland so it begs the question as to how this has been missed by our governing body? For me we have been failed by the Irish FA, not just from a registration point of view but from a human and pastoral point of view.  We have been left alone to deal with FIFA.

I want to finish on a positive.  The people who have donated, who have shared, who have phoned, text, emailed, I thank them. The Northern Irish media have been amazing.  Many people forget that along with being a coach I am a husband and a father.  My wife and four children have suffered but the love and support that they have given, as well as from our families and friends has been life saving.”

Further Support

As mentioned, TW Braga have launched a public appeal for support via gofundme.com which has been linked at the bottom of this piece. We would encourage you to support them with what you can. Every little helps as the 30 day period is due to lapse in around 10 days from today.

The club has been greatly supported by another Northern Irish outfit who have been handed down a very similar fine due to an eligibility dispute. Kilrea United, a junior club from County Londonderry managed to raise in excess of £13,000.00 and have made a grand gesture of solidarity to TW Braga, to the sum of £1000.00 

24/7 Football would like to express our thanks to Tim Wareing of TW Braga for speaking to us and to offer our support to their appeal. For more information,  please go to the GoFundMe page here.


Should Salary caps be introduced in the English Leagues?

In the current economic situation, sport and football clubs in general are having to tighten their belts, like they have not had to do so ever before.

Recently FIFA President Gianni Infantino reportedly spoke out about this problem by saying that there may well be a need to introduce salary caps in post Covid football.

The curtailment of  some leagues along with the absence of paying spectators will certainly have far reaching effects on all clubs, bar the biggest clubs worldwide, and Infantino now feels that this is the time for the game to take a step back and seriously reflect on this growing concern.

“I heard some interesting proposals on a wide range of topics.” Infantino said.

“From salary caps to transfer fee caps, to the possible obligation of governing bodies to contribute to a reserve fund which can be of assistant in hours of need such as now.”

He also promised to look into the amount of matches top players are asked to play each season. But surely it was FIFA after all who are mainly responsible for the extreme demands on their players. They for one are the only ones who brought on this problem.

Surely at some point in the coming months there must be a situation where lower wages will have to happen at every single Premiership club. Days of players reportedly earning around 15 million per year will end.

Another possibility could well be a gradual phasing out of the transfer fee system, but the most likely way forward in my opinion would be to bring in a salary cap in all leagues in English football including non-league level as well.

I am sure this would certainly become unpopular with the cream at the top of the Premier League for now, but if a salary cap was introduced it would give every side in their appropriate league the chance to become more competitive.

The likes of the Liverpools, Man. City’s. Chelsea’s and Man Utd’s would suffer but by bringing in a salary cap this would give other sides a much better chance of aiming for a top six finish.

If this idea was introduced into football at all levels it will always be open to some sides breaking the cap rule, which has happened recently in Rugby Union with Saracens being punished for their misdemeanour’s, but I’m sure this would only amount to a handful at most.

It would also see the end of excessive spending by most clubs, and in so doing secure their chances of surviving in the crazy world of football for many a year to come.

Article Written by Peter Moore

FIFA Council to select Women’s World Cup 2023 host(s) in June

The FIFA Council announced on Friday that they will announce the next host(s) for the 2023 edition of the Women’s World Cup online on June 25.

It has 314 days since the United States women’s national team defeated the Netherlands 2-0 at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Décines-Charpieu. Due to COVID-19, football fans have been anxiously waiting for the return. However, as league play starts to come back, FIFA delivered some good news to fans, especially those who hope their country hosts the tournament.

The bids for the tournament include a joint submission by the Football Federation Australia and New Zealand Football, Brazilian Football Association, Colombian Football Association, and Japan Football Association. This race is the most competitive bidding process in the history of the Women’s World Cup.

Australia and New Zealand, ranked seventh and 23rd in the FIFA World Rankings, have never hosted the tournament in either the men’s or women’s edition of the World Cup. The Matildas advanced to the knockout stages, led by superstar Sam Kerr, before falling to Norway in penalties during the Round of 16. However, the Football Ferns finished dead last in their group, losing all three games in the process.

Brazil has hosted several World Cups, including in 2014, for the men, but never for the women. All-time great Marta, in a message after their loss to host France in the Round of 16, insisted that “the women’s game depends on you to survive.” The honor of hosting would be great for the future of the game for the women in the South American country.

Colombia, ranked 25th in the world, was not a part of the last edition of the Women’s World Cup. However, they are looking to make it for the first time since 2015, where they fell in the Round of 16 in Canada. The best way to qualify is to get an automatic bid as a host.

As the 2015 World Cup champions, Japan is hoping to add hosts as another one of its achievements in women’s football. The country hosted the 2002 edition of the Men’s World Cup with South Korea but is hoping to host its first with the women’s side. 

The 2023 edition will be the first one to feature 32 teams, so it is a great honor for whichever nation(s) get the host the biggest tournament in the world’s most popular sport.

FIFA Appoint Wenger…

FIFA have announced they have appointed Arsene Wenger as their new Chief Of Global Football Development.

Wenger has been out of work since leaving Arsenal, being their manager for some 22 years. In the last 12 months he had hinted that he was looking to return to football in ‘some capacity’ possibly at managerial or head coach level.

In the last week, he was interviewed for and looked set to take the Bayern Munich head coach position, a position he has previously been linked with.

However talks on that stalled, because even at 70… he wanted a longer contract than Bayern were offering.

But now it seems that he has found a more fitting role, given his all round knowledge, global contacts and absolutely breath taking football experience.

FIFA have described Wenger as being a “Leading Authority on Technical Matters” a fact you could hardly disagree with.

Wengers new role has yet to be fully defined, but is thought to be ‘driving growth for men and women across the Globe’.

Certainly it is a role which for those who like Wenger, will be followed with great interest. Another part of the role will involve coaching education and a programme that will encourage former players to become managers and stay in the football world.

Given Wenger’s reputation and experience in the football sphere, his role is expected to be fulfilled well.