Fifa revises Women’s World Cup bidding, approves VAR

Fifa has agreed to open up the vote for hosting rights to the 2023 Women’s World Cup, while world football’s governing body has also confirmed that the video assistant referee (VAR) system will be in place for this year’s tournament in France.

Interested parties had until Friday to submit a completed expression of interest form for the 2023 World Cup to Fifa, which will subsequently dispatch bidding registration and overview documents. However, Fifa had attracted criticism for failing to bring the women’s competition in line with changes to the bidding process for the men’s event.

In the wake of the Fifa corruption scandal, the body agreed to make public the votes by member associations for the hosting rights to the 2026 World Cup, which was secured by the United States, Canada and Mexico last year. This process was previously undertaken in private by the former Fifa Executive Committee, which has now been replaced by the Fifa Council.

Fifa last month launched the bidding process for the 2023 World Cup, but did not specify that the voting process for the women’s event would mirror the changes implemented for the men’s tournament. However, during Friday’s Fifa Council meeting in Miami, the body announced that in March 2020 the Council will decide on the host(s), with the result of each ballot and related votes of each member of the Fifa Council being open and made public.

Fifa is yet to disclose the formal bidders for the 2023 World Cup following Friday’s deadline for initial declarations of interest, but the rights promise to be keenly contested. Australia and Japan have already reaffirmed their intention to bid for the World Cup, with Colombia and South Africa having also expressed an interest in hosting and a potential joint bid may be forthcoming from South and North Korea.

In other news from Friday’s Council meeting, Fifa has confirmed the implementation of the VAR system at France 2019, following what the International Football Association Board (IFAB) acknowledged as a “resounding success” at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Hosting rights to two tournaments were also decided. Brazil has been selected as the new host of the 2019 U-17 World Cup, following ratification of a decision taken last month to strip the rights from Peru. Meanwhile, India has been awarded the 2020 U-17 Women’s World Cup.