State Government “short sighted” in not bidding for 2023 FIFA women’s World Cup: SA-BEST

6 August 2019

SA-BEST today accused the Marshall Liberal Government of being “naively short-sighted” in its decision not to be part of Australia’s bid for the 2023 FIFA women’s World Cup – the third biggest sporting event in the world.

SA-BEST MLC and Sport and Recreation spokesperson, Frank Pangallo, said the reasons offered by the State Government “simply smacked of biased against soccer”.

He called on the State Government to commit to redeveloping Hindmarsh Stadium – SA’s home of soccer – to bring capacity up to 25,000, which would meet FIFA requirements.

“Yet again the Marshall Government has shown the complete and utter lack of vision it has for the economic growth and prosperity of this state,” Frank said.

“It can somehow facilitate a loan to build a $40 million hotel at Adelaide Oval and another $10 million to build a roof over Memorial Drive, yet a cent hasn’t been spent on Hindmarsh Stadium since the 2000 Sydney Olympics,” he said.

“This is a naively short-sight, penny-pinching decision made with no long-term vision for soccer or sport in this state or the redevelopment of Hindmarsh Stadium, which is regarded as one of – if not the best soccer fields in Australia. It could be transformed into a multi-use facility.

“Governments need to spend money to generate economic activity and attract big events like this.

“One can only imagine the millions of dollars in tourist activity would be generated if Adelaide co-hosted the 2023 FIFA women’s World Cup with the rest of the nation – not to mention helping fill hotel rooms in the CBD, already at risk of not being sustainable in the long term given the number of hotel developments.

“For Minister Ridgway to say he wants to know which games will be played here shows his complete ignorance of World Cup competitions.”

The State Government has advised the Football Federation Australia (FFA) that it does not wish to be part of Australia’s bid for the 2023 FIFA women’s World Cup after a “comprehensive event analysis” and stadium “challenges”.

One issue is its limited capacity of 16,500 – well short of the FIFA minimum requirement of 22,065 seats. However, Hindmarsh has been able to accommodate up to 18,000 for special events like the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the AFC Champion’s League final in 2008 between Adelaide United and Gamba Osaka.

“While it is understandable that Adelaide Oval is unavailable due to AFL commitments, Hindmarsh Stadium could easily be upgraded,” Frank said.

“By white-flagging its disinterest in co-hosting any 2023 FIFA women’s World Cup games, the government is also saying Hindmarsh won’t be up to standard for any other international sporting events, including the 2026 Commonwealth Games,” he said.

“As well as being the third largest sporting even in the world behind the Olympic Games and FIFA men’s world cup, the FIFA women’s World Cup in France was one of the highest-ranking television events in the world.

“My other concern is what does the government’s message say to all the emerging female soccer players in SA.”

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