By Andrew Warshaw
February 20 – FIFA are reverting to the old behind-closed-doors rules to decide on the hosts of the Women’s World Cup in 2023.
Unlike the ground-breaking open vote held last year among all FIFA’s 211 member nations for the men’s event in 2026, the 2023 women hosts will be decided by the 37-strong FIFA Council which replaced the old tarnished executive committee.
Whether this suggests FIFA views the women’s event as less prestigious or it simply recognises that there has historically been little or no history of corruption surrounding the women’s game is open to question.
Certainly FIFA made great play of opening up the men’s vote as part of its reform process so the world knew who had voted for whom. But the women’s world cup vote will remain a secret ballot when it takes place in March next year.
“FIFA’s statutes explicitly stipulate that the selection of venues for the final competitions of all tournaments rests with the FIFA Council with the exception of the FIFA World Cup, where their power lies with the Congress,” FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Maybe so but the fact that only six of the 37 FIFA Council members are female will not be lost on those intending to bid.
Member associations have until March 15 – in other words just under a month – to submit an expression of interest form to FIFA. They then have to complete the bidding registration by April 16 and submit bid books by October 4.
Australia and Japan are among the countries who have indicated their intention to bid.
“Australia has a fantastic record of hosting sporting events and we are confident we will put together an extremely compelling case to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia in 2023,” FFA chief executive David Gallop said.
However, the Australians will be wary of what happened when they bid for the 2022 men’s event, receiving $46 million Australian dollars of public money and ending up with just one vote.
Japan are also going ahead, with Japan FA President Kohzo Tashima commenting: “By hosting the FIFA women’s World Cup 2023, we hope to enhance the attractiveness and the value of women’s football from Japan.”
The stiffest opposition to both countries could come from Colombia while South Africa and New Zealand are also reported to be mulling over whether to bid.
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