The branding for the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand has been revealed, with tournament organisers incorporating Maori and Indigenous Australian designs into its look under a banner of going "Beyond Greatness."
Described as a "truly out of the box approach," by FIFA's chief women's football officer Sarai Bareman and unveiled, suitably enough, at 20:23 New Zealand time on Thursday, FIFA's branding will position their showpiece event at the vanguard of women's football's rapid growth, which the organisation hopes will result in 60 million women and girls playing the sport by 2026.
The 2023 tournament will be the first iteration of the Women's World Cup in which 32 nations will compete at the event, the tournament's logo features 32 coloured squares around a football as part of its overall design.
"Women's football continues to grow," FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura said. "The new slogan perfectly captures where FIFA wants to take the female game in the hearts and minds of football fans worldwide -- Beyond Greatness."
Also prominent in FIFA's branding for 2023 is the use of Maori and Indigenous Australian motifs and designs, a collaboration between the organisation and Maori artist Fiona Collis and Indigenous Australian artist Chern'ee Sutton.
Beyond the branding, the traditional names of the host cities and regions have been incorporated into the language surrounding the tournament.
"Being New Zealand born myself and coming from the region I think something's that's really amazing about both New Zealand and Australia is that we have these incredibly unique Indigenous cultures here," Bareman, who represented Samoa at international level as a player, said.
After a near 600 day absence due to COVID-related border closures, international football returned to Australia and New Zealand across the past week as the Matildas hosted Brazil in a two-game friendly series in Sydney -- giving the country its first insight into what a home World Cup may look like since it won the right to host the tournament last year.
Both games, however, were played in front of reduced crowds due to ongoing restrictions in the wake of New South Wales' outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID, and players and staff from both sides were forced to observe strict health protocols and isolation requirements to avoid needing to undergo a mandatory, 14-day quarantine period.
"COVID has meant that we've had to be flexible in our approach," said Bareman. "We haven't been able to go into the two host countries as often as we would have normally liked under non-COVID circumstances. So that's meant we've had to adapt.
"I believe the measures that are being put in place by the governments in both countries will mean that we are going to have an open situation 2023 come the FIFA Women's World Cup and both countries will be able to welcome fans, players, teams and everyone that wants to enjoy the Women's World Cup."