Belgium and Bolivia drop out of 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup race, eight countries remain

Eight candidates remain in the running to host the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, with Belgium and Bolivia dropping out following the governing body’s announcement that the tournament would expand from 24 to 32 teams. 

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea are the nations that remain in the running, with South Korea’s bid potentially including venues in neighbouring North Korea. Sport has become an increasingly important peace-making tool in relations between the two countries.

There has also been some speculation that Australia and New Zealand could launch a joint bid, though as it stands both nations look set to submit independent proposals.

Fifa says it has sent the “updated bidding and hosting documents” to the eight federations who remain interested in bidding, who must submit their final detailed bid plans by December 13.

The candidates will then face a full evaluation in January and February of next year, with a Fifa Council vote set to take place in May, giving the winning nation a little over three years to prepare to host the showpiece of the women’s international game.

After this year’s successful tournament in France, Fifa fast-tracked the process of expanding the 2023 edition to 32 teams. The body’s chief women’s football officer, Sarai Bareman, explained to SportBusiness that the decision to help create “increased playing opportunities for the women’s game all over the world.”