Football Australia celebrates hosting rights for AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026™

Football Australia is thrilled to announce it has been awarded the hosting rights for the 2026 edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup™, following official ratification by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Executive Committee at their meeting on 15 May 2024, held in Bangkok, Thailand, on the eve of the 34th AFC Congress.

This historic decision, confirming Australia as the upcoming host Member Association, was made after the AFC Women’s Football Committee’s strong recommendation, spotlighting Australia’s commitment, and readiness to host major international sporting events.

Having co-hosted the best-ever edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in 2023, Australia will host the Continent’s premier women’s national team for a second time in history having also staged the 2006 edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup™.

This prestigious event will bring together 12 nations in a tournament structured into three groups of four, showcasing matches across the host states of New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia, who were put forward as part of Football Australia’s bid for the tournament.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “On behalf of the Asian Football Confederation, I offer our sincere congratulations to Football Australia on being confirmed as hosts of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup™ 2026.

“I am confident that we will see a more vibrant and competitive edition in 2026 in Australia where the unrivalled passion for the women’s game is so palpable and we wish the Local Organising Committee the very best of success in their planning and preparation.

“I know the Asian football family joins me in reinforcing our confidence in Football Australia to elevate the ever-evolving stature and growth of women’s football in Asia.”

Chairman of Football Australia, Anter Isaac, highlighted the broader benefits of hosting the tournament: “Securing the AFC Women’s Asian Cup is a testament to our nation’s dedication to football. It is not only a victory for the sport but for every Australian, offering significant economic and cultural benefits.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the AFC, its Executive Committee, the Secretariat, and our fellow member associations for entrusting us with the privilege of hosting this prestigious tournament. We are committed to advancing the exceptional initiatives already established and delivered by the AFC and the broader Asian football community in women’s football.”

CEO of Football Australia, James Johnson, shared his enthusiasm about this landmark achievement: “We are profoundly honoured to host the 2026 edition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup™. This decision reflects the global football community’s confidence in our capability to deliver outstanding events. Following the resounding success of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™, we are eager to create another tournament that celebrates women’s football and inspires a new generation.”

The success of Australian national teams, including the Subway Socceroos and CommBank Matildas, has led to a nationwide increase in football participation, with an overall 12% increase in 2023 and an impressive 20% increase already noted in 2024. Football Australia is leveraging the AFC Women’s Asian Cup™ as a platform to further boost participation and develop the sport, aligning with upcoming international events like the Brisbane 2032 Olympics & Paralympics.

Head of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026, Sarah Walsh, at Football Australia, emphasised the organisation’s commitment: “Our team is fully committed to delivering a world-class event that will be a cornerstone in the development of women’s football in Asia. We are working closely with the AFC, our government partners, and various stakeholders to ensure the tournament builds upon the momentum from the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.”

The selection of New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia as host states promises extensive national engagement and support for the tournament, which is expected to generate up to $260 million in economic output and create over 1,000 jobs. These states were chosen after discussions with state governments to ensure they are fully prepared to support the successful delivery of the tournament.

James Johnson further noted the crucial role of government backing in this initiative: “As we finalise the preparations for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup™ 2026, Football Australia continues to engage in constructive discussions with the Federal Government regarding funding. This collaboration is essential to ensure the successful delivery and enduring legacy of the tournament. The ongoing support from all levels of government is critical as we tackle the surge in participation and the urgent need for improved facilities. Together, we are committed to making this event a resounding success that will further elevate women’s football in Australia and across Asia.”

As Football Australia continues to finalise arrangements, the excitement builds for what promises to be a spectacular showcase of the best in women’s football.

The tournament dates in 2026 will be confirmed with the AFC in due course and training and venue inspections will occur in the coming months.

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