A landmark year witnessed record attendances in Australia and New Zealand and evidence that a brave new era has started

In a year where actions of the disgraced former president of the Spanish Royal Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, and, more recently, Joey Barton’s sexist rampage have dominated headlines, you could be forgiven for thinking 2023 was a year of setbacks for women’s football and women in football. Yet those incidents, and others, have only looked more ludicrous when contrasted with a Women’s World Cup that captured hearts and generated the second-highest income for any global sporting event – behind the men’s World Cup.

Ian Wright said it best before the final of the women’s Euros in 2022, in his characteristically passionate and charming way: “We don’t need to worry about the dinosaurs. I saw someone say something about the dinosaurs screaming at the meteor. I love it – that’s what those negative people are. See how many millions of people have been watching these women play – there’s people out there for this game.”

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