August 5, 2021

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One year after being confirmed as the host of the Australia-New Zealand Women’s World Cup

Many do not recognize the name of Jane Fernandez. She does not attract attention to herself or brag about her successes. But if you are an Australian football fan, you know who Jane Fernandez is.

In fact, you may have seen this photo of her. You know it: In the early hours of June 26, 2020, it was taken inside the headquarters of Football Australia, when FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced that Australia and New Zealand were the co-organizers of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Taking a fraction of a second after the announcement, the photo captures the reaction of those lucky enough to be in that room: fists clenched and arms raised in the air, happily facing wide faces. There, in the middle, jumped higher than anyone and created everything: Jane Fernandez.

“I always pretend to have passed Alanna Kennedy,” Fernandez laughed Le Podcast The For Post D’SPN. “We have to make a play-off when he returns to Australia at some point.

“Models are unique. Lydia [Williams], Oh my God, the look on her face.

“It was a very stressful day. We all had this energy around us – this expectation – because everyone who had to vote had an idea of ​​where we could stand but we knew nothing, until we voted.

“Relief is a good word. It took a while to soak; It was a kind of combination of joy and relief because we worked so hard.

“I also worked in men [2022 World Cup] Submission, so I enjoyed that experience, it was like, “Finally, we worked so hard, we really won the gold medal.”

“This is what we say: It was like we won gold. You train so hard, you put in so much if you want, and then you walk away with gold.”

It’s been exactly one year since that iconic moment, and while not yet publicly announced, Fernandez and his team worked tirelessly behind the scenes to lay the groundwork for them. The next two years.

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This includes a new role for Fernandez, who went to FIFA after serving as Australia’s football staff for FIFA as Australia’s director for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

“I am responsible for all key functional areas of the competition, ensuring that all construction modules are in place and meeting the standards and requirements contained in millions of contracts,” Fernandez said. .

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“Everyone who works in the competition will be hired by a local company, which is owned by FIFA. So, in fact, we are all part of FIFA; We are a team. So, I think that also helps, knowing that we are all on the same team, we all build together.

“But it’s over 64 first-class football matches. We want to capture hearts and minds; We want to turn this competition into a cultural celebration. We want to make sure we cover all the different winter festivals across Australia, which is to make sure everyone buys the view, resists it and has the best World Cup. FIFA women never did. This is why we are here. “

What would a day in Fernandes’ life look like now?

“Lots of meetings, especially that [Microsoft] Teams or Zoom, ”he said. “Lots of late night calls – although I have to say it was bad for my colleagues in New Zealand depending on the time zones.

“Our focus over the past year – the first real priority – has been to set up this local agency, so that it has helped to provide that kind of advice, between governments, between lawyers, between FIFA and the Zurich panel, and really coordinating the response.

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“The other key element that was going on at the same time was selecting host cities and venues. In the effort, we recommended 13 sites, but 10 were selected in nine host cities across Australia and New Zealand. But there was a lot of production and presentation work at FIFA because they could not be selected.

“Then, next, the recruitment campaign. We’re like a startup, in fact, it’s team building, appointing department heads, and we’re halfway there. I did about 70 interviews easily. So it took a long time. This is really a start, so lay the foundation to make sure we are ready to be successful. This is the goal of this phase. ”

Another important milestone for Fernandez and his team is the organization of FIFA’s first successful post – success study tour, which is set to take place next week. But, as has happened everywhere in the last 18 months, the corona virus infection has thrown a dent in the works.

“FIFA usually went to Australia and New Zealand several times last year,” Fernandez said. “We are going on our FIFA study tour, so the FIFA team is currently exploring New Zealand; they flew from Zurich to New Zealand and were isolated for 14 days, they are currently exploring [there].

“Like yesterday, we had to rebuild our journey to FIFA due to the recent COVID eruptions and the border impacts on it.

“So we’re now on a surveillance mission, making sure we can get the FIFA team to every city they go to. We did it – but fingers crossed – we believe – but we need to be flexible and fast. Can’t go.

“Before this latest COVID erupts, we hope to be able to show them the many host cities and what they have to offer. Not much time, however, I have to say: this is about boarding a plane, landing, going to the hotel, going to training grounds the next day, boarding a plane. , Going to the next town.

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“However, in some cities – we will end up in Sydney just like now – there will be an opportunity to show other sites. “

Once the FIFA review is complete, Fernandez and his team will move on to the next phase of the action plan. With this, fans will start to revive the match, he said.

“There will be a lot of milestones – affordable – and they will all come together at once,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important to have the right players in the right positions [and] Develop confidence with the team; They know what they have to offer.

“So, we’re moving to the operational stage, in fact, we’re starting to develop the concept of operations, how we’re going to compete in Australia and New Zealand, we’m making sure we have a competition.

“One of the other important things that FIFA is focusing on with us right now is the brand building for the competition. Work has begun behind the scenes around it, which is exciting. It’s in its infancy now, but these kinds of things – these important milestones – are coming sooner than we think. Let’s start advertising, and then those milestones from there are going to come quickly.

“There is a lot of work to be done, we want to start telling the story of the Women’s World Cup and start from there, to make sure there is awareness.

“The doors will open on July 20 just in time [2023]. No postponement. “