Australia Set to Host Record-Breaking AFC Asian Women’s Cup 2026

Australia is in the box seat to host the AFC Asian Women’s Cup in 2026, following the withdrawals of Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia from the hosting discussions. Football Australia anticipates up to half a million attendees, making it the biggest women’s Asian Cup of all time, with an expected expenditure of between $115 million and $140 million. The chief executive of Football Australia, James Johnson, highlighted the significant growth in soccer sign-ups and the Matildas’ sponsorship revenue, which is now on par with the Socceroos .

The Matildas, Australia’s national women’s soccer team, are seen as a valuable asset for Football Australia. The team’s historic World Cup performance has led to increased interest from international clubs, resulting in major international transfers for players like Charli Grant, who signed with English club Tottenham Hotspur. This interest from international clubs also benefits Football Australia, as the governing body receives a percentage of the money made from the transfer of players from A-leagues into international competitions, which ultimately goes back to grassroots.

The increased revenue from transfers and sponsorships has significantly impacted women’s soccer in Australia. Major Australian businesses, including Commonwealth Bank, Qantas, and Rebel, are backing the Matildas, and players are sponsored by a range of businesses, including Nike, Oroton, and Patron. This surge in support has also translated into a 20% increase in soccer registrations this year, indicating a strong link between winning matches and hosting events with the growth of the sport .

Despite the positive developments, Football Australia acknowledges the need for more funding to take the sport to the next level. In response to this, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made a $200 million pledge to provide additional funding for sports facilities and equipment in local communities. Football Australia has identified a $2.9 billion gap in facility investments at the country’s 2400 clubs, emphasizing the need for investments in grass fields, lights for playing on fields for longer periods, and gender-neutral facilities .

In conclusion, the potential hosting of the AFC Asian Women’s Cup in 2026 presents a significant opportunity for Australia to continue the momentum generated by the Matildas’ historic World Cup performance. The increased interest from international clubs, growth in sponsorships, and surge in soccer registrations demonstrate the positive impact of the team’s success on women’s soccer in Australia. However, there is a recognized need for additional funding to further develop the sport and its infrastructure across the country .

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