March 4 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino has hinted at a potential joint Korean bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Australia, Japan, South Africa and New Zealand have already expressed their interest in hosting the tournament.
The FIFA boss was talking on the sidelines of a meeting of the International Football Association Board in Scotland. “I have been hearing for the Women’s World Cup in 2023, the two Koreas,” said Infantino. “I have been hearing that. It would be great.”
In the past sports diplomacy has been a prominent feature in the relationship between the two Koreas who technically remain at war after the 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, North Korea and South Korea marched under the Korean Unification Flag in the opening ceremony and in the women’s ice hockey they were represented by a united Korean team.
“They have been in a very, very difficult situation until recently,” added Infantino.
Last month FIFA opened the bidding process for the 2023 Women’s World Cup by asking countries to express their interest in staging the tournament. The field has rapidly become crowded with Japan, Australia, who have both held long-term ambitions to host the 2023 tournament, coming forward as potential future bidders. South Africa have also expressed their interest. Africa has never hosted the Women’s World Cup. Finally, New Zealand are also mulling over a bid.
On March 18 FIFA will dispatch bid registration documents to interested associations, outlining what will be required from bidders to host the World Cup. The FIFA Council will vote to award the hosting rights in March 2020, a choice FIFA has faced criticism for as the men’s World Cup is no longer decided by secret ballot but voted on by the full FIFA membership.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1566347202labto1566347202ofdlr1566347202owedi1566347202sni@o1566347202fni1566347202