The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is set to leave seven NRL clubs without a home until a third of next year’s rugby league season.
As reported by Sydney Morning HeraldFIFA has exclusive use of Accor Stadium (Stadium Australia), Sydney Football Stadium, Suncorp Stadium and AAMI Park for nine weeks from June to August next year.
The competition’s acquisition of the four venues will oust the Sydney Roosters, Canterbury Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Brisbane Broncos, Redcliffe Dolphins and Melbourne Storm from their homes for an extended period.
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The Wests Tigers’ Leichhardt Oval has also been listed as the official training venue for the tournament.
Under the agreement signed with FIFA when Australia and New Zealand won the 2023 World Cup bid, venues will be abandoned four weeks before the first match at a particular ground.
As venues will offer different stages of play, their idle periods will differ depending on whether they are hosting pool matches or finals.
Due to the FIFA World Cup match, Suncorp Stadium will be booked for nine weeks, AAMI Park for eight weeks, Sydney Football Stadium for seven weeks and Accor Stadium for six weeks (only for finals ).
Venues will remain under FIFA’s control for a further five days after the last match at a ground, but stakeholders are negotiating to have this timeframe reduced.
“We are working with affected state governments, stadiums and clubs on the options that best suit them and their fans during the period when home venues are offline,” the chief executive said. the NRL, Andrew Abdo.
“There will be additional complexities and challenges with next season’s draw, but the NRL and the clubs will be innovative and work together as a game to ensure the best possible season continuity during this period.
“We will certainly take stadium availability into account when developing next year’s schedule, but I’m sure all clubs will understand that there will be additional constraints.”
The scheduling conflict could also impact next year’s State of Origin series. The NSW Blues are due to host Game 3 of the series, which was due to take place at the Accor Stadium.
However, the Sydney Olympic Park venue, as well as Sydney Football Stadium, will not be available for the game which is traditionally played in mid-July.
Adding to the headache, according to the Sydney Morning Heraldit would not be possible to change the game from Game 3 to Game 2 as the NRL’s deal with the South Australian government for the Adelaide clash must be for a live game, not a potential dead rubber.
Skipping to the first game at Suncorp Stadium won’t solve the problem either, as the venue will also be inhabited by FIFA.
The NRL is in talks with the clubs concerned to determine what is the best way forward.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will start on July 20 and end with the final at the Accor Stadium on August 20.
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