The 20X20 initiative is a campaign to raise media coverage, attendance and participation across all Women’s sport. As a long time advocate of parity of esteem, we have been strong supporters of the campaign which is being backed by Sport for Business members including the Federation of Irish Sport, Along Came a Spider, AIG, Three and Lidl.
It’s all about personal commitments to change and ours is the publication of a weekly column looking at different aspects of Women’s Sport both here and around the world that will be relevant in terms of advocacy but also in terms of commercial partnership and sporting administration.
It is our strong belief that this year’s FIFA World Cup in France will be a major tipping point for the acceptance of Women’s sport as being as worthy of interest and investment as Men’s.
The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland failed to qualify but England is one of the nations fancied to do well, as are Norway and the Netherlands who qualified from our group and the tournament will gain massive free to air exposure on TV.
The halo effect of a successful tournament is also certain to continue with England hosting the Euro 2021 tournament, Ireland’s next opportunity to qualify for the biggest stage.
FIFA revealed yesterday that bidding to stage the 2023 edition of the World Cup was also at an all-time high with nine countries indicating their preparing to submit detailed bids.
France ’19 will be the eighth staging of the tournament. China has staged it twice, as has the United States. Sweden, Germany and Canada have been the other hosts.
A total of 1.3 million spectators watched the Finals live in Canada in 2015 and that number is expected to be exceeded again this summer in France.
The nine countries who have expressed their interest in hosting in 2023 include Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Australia, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and perhaps most interestingly a joint bid from North and South Korea.
The countries have until April 16th to formally submit their bidding registration.
They will then have until 4th October 2019 to submit a full bid book, after which time a full evaluation of the bids will take place.
Unlike the Men’s tournament which is voted on by the full membership of FIFA, the decision on where to stage the 2023 Women’s tournament will be made by the 37 members of the FIFA Council.
Six of those 37 Members are women, representing Bangladesh, Burundi, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Ecuador, New Zealand and Italy.
Raising that level of representation will be another opportunity for FIFA to show that it is making moves in the right direction on all areas of equal opportunity both on and off the field of play.
Fatma Samoura became the first woman to hold the post of Secretary General of the organisation when she was appointed in 2016. At that time only three women held positions on the FIFA Council.