Aotearoa is due to co-host the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023TM, and the government is fronting $19 million towards the event’s funding.
The funding will contribute to upgrades for football fields, lighting, and facility enhancements, along with new gender-neutral changing spaces, and improving gender inclusivity at clubs. These improvements will be seen in facilities across Aotearoa, including Auckland’s Eden Park.
In a statement, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the event “will generate significant social and economic benefits…and leave a lasting legacy for football and women’s sport in this country”.
When comparing this funding with the previously announced 2022 Education Budget, the FIFA funds are a significant amount of money. For tertiary education funding, the government is giving almost half the FIFA amount, $10 million, from its new operating funding to “establish Te Tahua o Te Reo Kairangi, a new fund to support new or existing programs delivering the higher levels of te reo Māori”.
The football budget is also receiving more than the $7.7 million that will expand “Check & Connect: Te Hononga and Te Mana Tikitiki, which provides targeted and intensive supports for Māori and Pacific learners at risk of disengaging, using kaupapa Māori and bicultural evidence-based approaches”.
One football fan who attends the University of Auckland, Matthew, said, “I think to some extent it’s great. With any major sporting event you get funding like this, and I think the resources will benefit the football community a lot. The only thing I’d say is that these events are probably due to get a lot of sponsored funding anyway, and some of the budget could probably go on other more pressing issues the country is facing”.
The FIFA tournament is due to take place from 20 July to 20 August 2023.