(ATR) Japan withdraws its bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup just three days before the scheduled vote.
Japan pulls out of the bidding with three days to go. (JFA/Noriko Hayakusa)
The decision leaves the joint bid of Australia and New Zealand as the clear favorite over Colombia going into Thursday’s FIFA Council meeting to choose the host.
The Japan Football Association announced the withdrawal on Monday, and its president Kohzo Tashima explained the reasons why at an online press conference.
According to Kyodo
, Tashima said Japan had estimated that it would not have enough votes to win and “not getting support and losing will not lead to anything better in the future”.
Australia, like Japan, is a member of the Asian Football Confederation and the two countries would likely have split the region’s votes on the 37-member FIFA Council. Now that Japan is out of the running, Tashima is eligible to vote as one of the seven Asian delegates. New Zealand is a part of the Oceania governing body, which will have only two of its three delegates voting since New Zealand’s Johanna Wood is ineligible due to FIFA’s conflict of interest rules.
Tashima said the one-year postponement of Tokyo 2020 played a part in the failed bid.
The delay meant just a two-year gap between the Olympics and the Women’s World Cup, making it unlikely that the same country would be allowed to host both the Olympic soccer tournament and the World Cup within such a short time frame.
In addition, he said the Covid-19 pandemic hampered campaigning efforts by the JFA.
Japan had finished behind the joint bid from Down Under in FIFA’s evaluation report released on June 10. Australia/New Zealand scored 4.1, Japan 3.9 and Colombia 2.8 on a five-point scale.
Two days before the evaluations were unveiled, Brazil pulled out of the running and threw its support to Colombia.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup will be the ninth edition of the event and the first to feature 32 teams, eight more than any of the previous tournaments.
The United States is the two-time defending champion, having won in Canada in 2015 and in France in 2019.
Written by Gerard Farek
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