The New Zealand government has assigned an initial NZ$7.3m (£3.8m/€4.2m/$4.8m) to enhance the country’s sports facilities ahead of its staging of three women’s World Cup events.

Sports Minister Grant Robertson made the announcement as he detailed the first major release of funding, NZ$80m, from the NZ$265m Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.

New Zealand last month landed hosting rights, alongside Australia, to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, while the country is also set to stage the Women’s Cricket World Cup and Women’s Rugby World Cup next year. Auckland’s Eden Park will be a venue for all three tournaments and has welcomed the government’s announcement.

Stadium management said that key to the successful delivery of these events will be implementation of specific upgrades including stadium field lighting, gender appropriate changing room renovations, bilingual signage installation, elevator and CCTV upgrades, installation of replay screens, turnstile replacement, acoustic barrier installation and exploring the creation of an external footbridge connecting Kingsland Train Station to Eden Park.

Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner said: “These events at New Zealand’s national stadium offer a platform to demonstrate a commitment to equality in sport. It’s our aim to ensure that all athletes are provided with world-class changing rooms and feel comfortable in all aspects of the stadium’s design, including gender appropriate facilities.

“It is envisioned that the stadium’s South and West Stand facilities will be upgraded in line with the renovation seen ahead of Eden Park hosting the Rugby World Cup 2011. A steering group has been formed which includes Eden Park, Sport New Zealand, athlete representatives and all sporting codes who utilise New Zealand’s national stadium.

“We’d like to extend our thanks to New Zealand Rugby for their support and involvement during this process. Eden Park is committed to becoming an industry leader through creating versatile facilities that will attract further women’s fixtures and bring people together to support all sport.”

Image: Eden Park