COVID-19 won't halt Women's World Cup bid

James Johnson says the pandemic won't stop Australia's Women's World Cup soccer bid.
James Johnson says the pandemic won't stop Australia's Women's World Cup soccer bid.

Australia's bid to host the 2023 Women's World Cup remains on track despite the COVID-19 crisis.

The global coronavirus pandemic has halted football across the globe but FFA chief executive James Johnson is still expecting FIFA to vote on who will host the tournament within the next couple of months.

Australia and New Zealand have made a combined bid to host the tournament with Japan, Brazil and Colombia the other nations in the running.

With bid inspections completed before most countries applied travel restrictions, the next step will be for FIFA's bid evaluation reports to be issued publicly sometime next month.

The vote to decide who would host the tournament was supposed to be held before a FIFA congress in Ethiopia in June which has since been cancelled.

Despite that cancellation, Johnson believes the vote could still go ahead.

"As it stands the decision is still supposed to be in early June and that's what we know at the moment," Johnson told AAP.

"Of course I wouldn't be surprised if it was delayed. I wouldn't think it would be for too long."

Johnson believes Australia's successful hosting of a rescheduled Asian Olympic qualifying tournament in February following the virus's initial outbreak in China would prove to be a positive for the bid.

The Matildas faced China, Taiwan and Thailand in the four-team group before then overcoming Vietnam in a two-legged playoff to secure their Olympic berth.

"We were able to bring the Olympic qualifiers back to Australia in February and deliver a tournament at short notice, working around the beginnings of government restrictions," Johnson said.

"That will certainly help our chances and also the way the government and the sport have been able to deal with our local sports to date has really been noticed internationally."

Australian Associated Press