Launceston has missed out on selection as one of 29 team base camps for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
Football’s governing body FIFA announced the 29 locations across Australia and New Zealand in early December 2022.
Fourteen of the training camps were confirmed in Australia across five host cities, with two regional centres for the 14 teams that will play group games in Australia, while New Zealand will host 15 training camps.
A team base camp will act as the “home-away-from-home” for competing teams and includes a training site and accommodation.
Australia will co-host the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 with New Zealand, with play-off tournament matches kicking off in February, and the Women’s World Cup 2023 matches from July. It is the first time the event will be held in the Southern Hemisphere and the first time two countries will co-host the elite women’s competition.
Launceston had two venues short-listed initially as a potential team base camp – Churchill Park and Birch Avenue.
Last year, the state government announced more than $10 million in funding for improvements to football grounds across the state, including the two Launceston grounds.
Lighting improvements at both grounds are currently underway with six new towers being installed on the new Western ground and two more on the southern ground at Churchill Park. Similarly, the main ground at Birch Avenue will have two new light towers installed.
The new LED lighting will provide clubs with the ability to alter the brightness to suit whatever activity the ground is being used for at any given time.
Launceston Mayor Danny Gibson said that while he was disappointed Launceston missed out on hosting one of the international teams, the Council will continue to work on realising any remaining World Cup event opportunities, such as a pre-tournament camp.
“Obviously we would have loved to host one of the teams here in Launceston, particularly with the recent investment announced at both of those venues,” Mayor Gibson said.
“However, the funding commitment from the State Government as well as our own was always about significantly improving the facilities for our players locally, and for the long term.
“The reality is these upgrades were planned regardless of our status as a potential training camp venue, which means that they were always going to provide genuine, ongoing benefits to the local clubs who train and play on those grounds week-in, week-out during the regular football season.”