Football Australia has announced New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia as the proposed host states for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026, amid a rise in participation.

This confirmation of candidate host states highlights Australia’s status as the sole bidder for the event, backed by a recommendation from the AFC Women’s Football Committee in March. The final award of hosting rights is expected to be ratified by the AFC Executive Committee in May.

Building on from the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023, this bid looks to continue and amplify the economic and social benefits of major women’s football events. Projections indicate that the tournament could generate up to AU$260m in economic output and spur the creation of over 1,000 jobs.

James Johnson, CEO of Football Australia, stated: “Hosting the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026 offers a golden opportunity to continue the dynamic growth and popularity of women’s football in Australia. 

“Last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup laid a robust foundation, and we are eager to build upon this legacy to further enhance our football landscape both nationally and regionally.”

The achievements of Australian national teams, including the Subway Socceroos and CommBank Matildas, have sparked a surge in football participation across the nation. In 2023, there was a notable 12% increase, and the trend has continued strongly into 2024, with an impressive 20% rise already recorded.

Johnson emphasised the importance of the Australian government recognising these benefits and supporting Football Australia’s plans. 

Johnson said: “The backing from all levels of government is crucial as we tackle the surge in participation and the urgent need for improved facilities. This support is essential to maintain the momentum and ensure the continuous development of the sport across the country.”

“The Federal Government’s ‘Play Our Way’ Grants programs is a welcomed initiative to address the community facilities gap. This type of ongoing support is essential to maintain the continuous development of the sport across the country.”

Football isn’t the only sport in the country that has experienced an increase in participation, the NRL announced earlier this year that grassroots involvement increased by 9%, exceeding 192,000 registered players, with male participation increasing by 5%, while female involvement saw a remarkable growth of 12%.

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