The last-minute jostling for votes has ramped up ahead of the vote to decide if New Zealand and Australia will co-host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

New Zealand's joint bid with Australia were looking like strong favourites to host the tournament after Japan pulled out this week leaving Colombia as their only competition.

FIFA's technical evaluation of both bids made it a one-sided contest with the transtasman bid scoring 4.1 to Colombia's 2.8.

However, UEFA, the powerful ruling body of European football, is reportedly encouraging its members to back the South Americans, which would be a blow to the ANZAC bid's hopes.


The Guardian reports UEFA has rubbished the technical reports in a recent meeting and argued the Women's World Cup is a "development tournament" and should go to a country with a poor track record in women's football that could leverage hosting rights as a catalyst for change. UEFA has nine of the 35 votes in tonight's election, which is being done by video conference.

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There are nerves aplenty for New Zealand Football boss Andrew Pragnell.

"There's lots of things that can happen in the background. So we're braced for any outcome. There's obviously a lot of positive signs. We took a lot out of the confidence from the FIFA technical report that scored our bid the highest but a bit of water to go under the bridge yet," he told Newstalk ZB.

"We do have to consider it could be an outcome and if that's the case then at least we'll know we left no stone unturned and we've put our best foot forward. We actually had a great working relationship with Football Australia throughout, so there's things to come from that relationship."

UEFA traditionally sides with fellow world football power CONMEBOL (South America), so the Kiwis and Aussies wouldn't have been banking on getting much support from them in the first place.

With Asia and Oceania (nine combined votes) certain to side with a transtasman tournament, the key blocs will be Africa (seven votes) and North America (five votes).

Japan, whose bid had received the second highest score of 3.9, followed Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and a joint Korean bid in falling by the wayside as the Asian nation focused all its energy on the postponed Olympics.

FIFA's evaluation report gave Colombia a score of just 2.8 out of five as it raised doubts about the ability to provide investment required to carry out "necessary improvements".


In contrast, the Australia-New Zealand bid "provides a variety of very good options in terms of sporting and general infrastructure. It would also appear to present the most commercially favourable proposition".

ESPN reports that it's the closest bid since the controversial vote that handed the 2006 men's tournament to Germany.

The joint proposal would see games played in 13 venues across 12 cities, with the opening match at Eden Park in Auckland and the final in Sydney. Seven cities in Australia would host games, and five in New Zealand.

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