New Zealand Football (NZF) has launched its FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023legacy plan Aotearoa United: Legacy Starts Now at Wellington’s Sky Stadium.

Hosted by Football Fern Anna Green, members of New Zealand’s football communities gathered to launch the plan, which sets the vision to ensure hosting the biggest ever sporting event to come to New Zealand will have an enduring impact on the game and diverse communities.

An independent assessment in 2019 forecasted that FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ will deliver nearly $200 million into New Zealand’s economy.

The tournament represents a unique opportunity to invest in the game like never before and NZF has a plan to supercharge football in the country.

Minister of Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson said setting the plan is an important milestone.

“The Legacy Starts Now strategy is another important milestone in ensuring that we’re making the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity to grow the game of football and to deliver better opportunities, experiences and development pathways for women and girls,” Robertson said.

Legacy Starts Now is built on four pillars:

  • Power of Opportunities (Leading the way by breaking barriers)
  • Pathways (Paving the way for future generations)
  • Partnership (Growing and strengthening the game through meaningful relationships)
  • People and Places (A game for all and a place of connection)

They set the focus on developing pathways in the game such as playing, coaching, refereeing, administrating, opportunities such as professional football for female players, and partnerships to achieve greater outcomes for the game throughout New Zealand and across the Oceania region.

Aotearoa United: Legacy Starts Now was developed through collaboration with the six federations (Northern Region Football, WaiBOP, Central Football, Capital Football, Mainland, Football South), Māori Football Aotearoa, Oceania Football Confederation, NZF stakeholders, the New Zealand Government and the wider football community.

NZF Women’s World Cup, Legacy and Inclusion General Manager Paula Hansen said it’s a plan developed by football for football and New Zealand.

“We want to work with communities to deliver football in a way that works for them and reflects them,” said Hansen.

“Be it through expanding our Goals4Schools programme, making accessible and equitable gender-neutral facilities available, creating safe spaces so that everyone has the opportunity to participate.

“In other words, removing the barriers that prevent people from getting and staying involved in football in all its forms.”

OFC Executive Committee Member and NZF President Johanna Wood said the legacy plan is about tapping into the potential of girls and women and creating pathways and opportunities.

“It’s about women leading and developing others and sharing these stories. There is untapped talent to be realised and nurtured in many different ways,” Wood said.

“Going forward, those ways will suit you and your communities.

“This is on all of us. We will all have the opportunity to contribute and make a difference.”

NZF Chief Executive Officer Andrew Pragnell said part of the plan’s vision is already coming to life.

“We don’t need to wait until after the tournament to see the legacy plan kick into action,” Pragnell said.

“We’re already seeing opportunities open up for our girls and women.

“NZF announced a major partnership with Ford New Zealand this week which specifically supports the development of the girls and women’s game through leadership and mentoring programmes.

“As well as becoming the Ford Football Ferns’ first-ever naming partner demonstrates what a huge opportunity this is for businesses to get involved in football.

“Next week history will be made when the Wellington Phoenix women play their first-ever A-League Women’s game, finally adding the professionalism to the playing pathway in New Zealand.

“We’re at the start of an incredibly exciting time for football in this country.”

Watch the launch of Aotearoa United: Legacy Starts Now below: