Koreas pull out of WWC 2023 hosting race, leaving four bids to battle for rights

December 16 – Bids to stage the 2023 Women’s World Cup are conspicuous by the absence of any application from Korea, both south and north.

FIFA has received bids from Brazil, Japan, Colombia and a joint bid from Australia and New Zealand to host the tournament but the South Korean FA pulled out just before the deadline for candidates to submit completed bid books.

The KFA said it initially pushed to jointly host the games with North Korea at the recommendation of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, but strained relations failed to bring this about.

The KFA said it also dropped plans for a sole bid because of new FIFA rules for organising committees that apparently run counter to South Korean laws.

Discussions with FIFA to try to find a compromise failed, the KFA said, and subsequently the South Korean government could not approve the bid, a blow to the FIFA heirarchy. South Africa, which hosted the men’s World Cup in 2014, also withdrew an expected bid.

The 2023 event is set to be the first women’s World Cup to feature 32 teams and FIFA will now assess the bids ahead of the all-important vote next June.

“France 2019 was certainly a watershed moment for women’s football, and now it is FIFA’s responsibility to take concrete measures to keep fostering the game’s incredible growth,” Infantino said in a statement.

“With the FIFA Women’s World Cup generating an unprecedented interest across member associations, we are ensuring that the process to select the hosts is seamless, objective, ethical and transparent. By the time the FIFA Council announces the hosts, there should be no doubt whatsoever as to why that choice was made.”

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