MELBOURNE - Australia will bid for the women's football World Cup in 2023 as part of a 20-year vision to boost the sport in a country dominated by rival football codes.
Australia hosted and won the men's Asian Cup in January, restoring some pride to the local game after the country's costly bid for the men's 2022 World Cup failed dismally and drew fierce criticism from home media.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief David Gallop said football's "best years were ahead" in the country, where indigenous Australian Rules football and rugby league still rule the roost in terms of crowds and broadcast dollars. "We know that growth will inevitably bring greater revenues and new incomes streams, enough to fund the future," Gallop said in a statement on Tuesday.
The World Cup bid would help drive "women's participation and professionalism", the FFA said.
The bid was one of a number of ambitious goals in the FFA's "Whole of Football Plan", a blue-print for the development of the national game released on Tuesday.
Among them, the FFA hopes to build a base of one million club members from a population tipped to rise to 30 million over the next 20 years.
It aims to nurture an elite base of 3,000 male and female juniors to bid for national and club contracts, while building better training academies for players and coaches to eliminate the need for talent to head overseas. "The more immediate need for me is talent ID," Australia coach Ange Postecoglou said. "The reality is that they're out there anyway - we just don't know them. "Schools are the easiest way, if we can tap into that and give them better coaches in their schools. "If at the age of 15 or 16 they're getting encouragement from within our system through academies maybe there won't be the need to go overseas."