Christchurch’s prospects for teams to be headquartered in the city for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 have improved with the news that the Government is contributing to upgrades of potential sporting facilities earmarked for the tournament.
The bulk of the Government investment in Christchurch facilities will go to pitch upgrades at Avonhead Park, a community park with football pitches. Christchurch Stadium and NgÄ Puna Wai will also have some minor works completed. This government investment will complement community sport upgrades already planned by Christchurch City Council. FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 organisers selected these locations as potential training bases due to their sports lighting capability.
Hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 has prompted these facility upgrades, which highlights how hosting major events can leave a legacy of community improvements. The opportunity for international teams to be in Åtautahi, Christchurch will also showcase what this proud sporting city has to offer. Visiting teams for the tournament have the ability to select from a range of practice facilities around the country, including the upgraded Christchurch facilities.
Although Christchurch doesn’t currently meet the stadium requirements to host official matches for the tournament, the presence of the world’s best female footballers will inspire more women to participate in sport. ChristchurchNZ will work with New Zealand Football to proactively try and secure any warmup matches ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 to engage our community and encourage participation in the sport.
“These upgrades are critical to ensure the success of the tournament, but will also benefit local communities, football clubs and many different sporting codes that use these facilities, which is another great reason to invest in them,” said Minister of Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson.
“They will also put us in a stronger position when bidding to host major international events in the future.”
ChristchurchNZ Manager of Major Events Karena Finnie said the city was grateful to the government for the support. “These upgrades make it possible for Åtautahi, Christchurch to be included in the largest women’s sporting event on the planet, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. Our job is to attract major events to the city and this only improves our reputation as a sporting destination. And we can’t wait until we have the right infrastructure to be hosting these events in the future.”