South Africa withdraw 2027 Women’s World Cup bid to focus on 2031

November 30 – South Africa have dropped out of the race for the 2027 Women’s World Cup, reducing the bidding field to three bids. The Africans want to focus on landing the 2031 finals.

South Africa, one of four confirmed bidders for the 2027 Women’s World Cup withdrew saying that they were shifting their focus to host the 2031 tournament.

“We felt that it was better to present a well-prepared bid for the 2031 FIFA Women’s World Cup and ensure we put our best foot forward, rather than producing a rushed presentation,” said SAFA CEO Lydia Monyepao on the governing body’s official website.

Africa have never hosted the Women’s World Cup. In 2010, South Africa became the first country on the continent to host the men’s finals.

Some of the infrastructure of that tournament remains in place and SAFA has been flirting with the idea of bringing the women’s tournament to South Africa for years. They also expressed their intention to bid for the 2023 finals but later withdrew.

The SAFA statement said: “South Africa wishes to announce that the country is withdrawing from the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup Bid and is considering bidding for the 2031 tournament when FIFA announces the call for countries to bid for the event.

“The time frame for developing the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup bid has been challenging. This does not diminish our commitment to women’s football, and has instead strengthened our commitment to produce a strong South African women’s team for 2031, and a compelling bid for the same tournament.”

South Africa’s withdrawal leaves three bids in the race for 2027.

The joint bids by Mexico and the US as well as the European triumvirate Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany are considered the frontrunners, with Brazil a challenger from South America.

The Brazilians however have expressed their confidence that they have what it takes to host the finals. They hosted the men’s 2014 World Cup. Like Africa, South America has never hosted the Women’s World Cup.

The United States last hosted the finals in 1999. Europe staged the tournament four years ago in France before an expanded tournament was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand last summer.

Bidding nations will have to submit their bid books to FIFA on December 8. That deadline will be followed by inspection visits in February 2024 before the world federation takes a host decision on May 17 at the 75th Congress in Bangkok, Thailand.

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