© Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash
Two host countries – a premiereFor the first time in history, the FIFA Women’s World Cup will be hosted by two countries instead of just one: Australia and New Zealand. A total of 32 teams will be competing for the biggest prize in womens’ football. The Australian Football Association is a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), while the New Zealand Football Association is a member of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC). As both countries qualified automatically, their places will be taken by the allocated quota and the remaining three places will be decided in a knockout tournament with ten teams, distributed as follows:
2 play-off places for AFC (Asia), 2 play-off places for CAF (Africa), 2 play-off places for CONCACAF (Caribbean, Central and North America), 2 play-off places for CONMEBOL (South America), 1 play-off place for OFC (Oceania) and 1 play-off place for UEFA (Europe).
Travelling to Australia and New Zealand: vaccines and visaNaturally, the tournament will be welcoming football fans from all over the world. All foreign visitors must take into account the visa and vaccination requirements of both countries. It’s important to check which visa you are eligible for well before you book your flight tickets. Many a traveller already booked their flights, before finding out they had to go through a lengthy visa procedure which caused them to miss their flights. In addition, even the fastest visa applications can have delays, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Australia:European nationals are advised to apply for the 651 eVisitor visa for Australia. This visa is applied for online and is generally approved within a matter of days. It is also the cheapest option as far as visas for Australia are concerned. Travellers from the USA should apply for the 601 ETA for Australia. This visa is almost identical to the 651 visa, with the main differences being the price (it’s more expensive) and the fact that it’s available to more nationalities. For travellers from African countries, a trip to the embassy is usually required to acquire a visa for Australia.
Australia no longer has a mandatory vaccination requirements. Travellers also don’t need to be tested for COVID before or after they travel to Australia.
New Zealand:Like Australia, New Zealand has an electronic travel visa which can be applied for entirely online. This NZeTA visa is available to both European nationals and American nationals. It requires a photograph of the person to be uploaded, which must adhere to a number of strict requirements. Nationals from African countries will in most cases again have to get an embassy visa, which takes more time and is more expensive.
Unlike Australia, however, New Zealand has a mandatory vaccination requirement. You must be able to prove you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 through an official vaccination certificate from your country. These proofs have to be uploaded alongside your visa application. In addition, on arrival in New Zealand you will receive two self-tests, which you must take during your stay. The dates you are required to take them are sent to you by e-mail.
One of a kind eventThe 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is already touted to be a unique event.
“It will be one of the biggest events these countries have ever hosted,” said Dave Beeche, CEO of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.
Numerous stadiums will be refurbished, as will training facilities. Notably, the Sydney Football Stadium is being completely rebuilt, and in September the Matildas will have the honour of hosting the Olympic champions from Canada in the first football match to be played in the new stadium.
Meanwhile, Grant Roberson, New Zealand’s Minister of Sport and Recreation, said New Zealand fans are delighted to host 24 matches and five knockout games on home soil.
“It’s very exciting for Aotearoa to share the group stage matches equally with Australia, something that will allow this sports mad nation to enjoy a unique event across the country, with Kiwi fans getting the chance to watch the Football Ferns compete on a world stage,” he said.