• Australia and New Zealand are capable of cooperation and peaceful coexistence it seems, based on the two countries combining to submit a joint bid for the 2023 FIBA World Cup football tournament.

    FIBA is riding a tidal wave of success following the positive outcomes of the 2019 tournament in France to the extent that they have expanded the pool from 24 to 32 teams.

    Thirty-two teams means that more grounds will be required. That accounts for FFA chairman Chris Nikou mentioning the dual bid.

    We were not aware of any shortage of soccer pitches that would prevent either country from holding the tournaments solely. Maybe they could use a successful bid as justification for making improvements to the SCG turf.

    “We’re still in dialogue with New Zealand and a decision will be made shortly as the bid book is due on December 13,” Nikou said.”We’ve had really constructive dialogue with Football New Zealand and we have a great relationship.”

    Nikou estimated that with the 25 percent increase in the number of teams selected for 2023, it would necessitate anything from six to 10 additional venues.

    Victoria has offered to make AAMI Park available, but for the moment, it would seem that MCG is sacrosanct and not on the table.

    If the southern hemisphere bid is successful, the tournament would be played in June and July, which is ideal in terms of football weather and AAMI would be idle during the AFL’s offseason.

    Victorian Minster for Sport Martin Pakula did mention that MCG would be offered up, which could resemble a mausoleum unless FIFA could offer up a big draw to attract 100,000 spectators to the cavernous MCG.

    It could be possible. After all, over 85,000 turned out on a Thursday evening to watch Richmond and Carlton inaugurate the Toyota 2019 AFL Premiership competition, even though all 85,000 turned out with the conviction that they were not seeing a Grand Final preview.

    A final would in most circumstances be played in Sydney.

    There is much behind the scenes maneuvering to be done and many FIFA officials needing the proper “persuasion.”

    The decision will be made in May of 2020.