Japan, Colombia, Brazil and a joint Australia-New Zealand bid are the four contenders to host the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, following the close of the bid deadline last Friday.
Expected bids from Argentina and North/South Korea failed to materialise.
Fifa will inspect venues, facilities and host cities for the four bids in January and February 2020, and release a detailed report on each bid by May. Fifa’s executive committee will vote on the bids, and is expected to announce a winner in June next year at its meeting in Addis Ababa.
South and North Korea announced their intention to co-host the tournament during a thaw in relations between the two countries earlier this year, but interest in the project appeared to wane recently. The Koreas and Argentina joined a list of dropouts that also includes Bolivia and South Africa.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino said in a statement: “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.
“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.”
Fifa has released details of the bid evaluation criteria, which include an objective scoring system to rate each bid’s infrastructure and commercial potential. Infrastructure, particularly stadiums, will account for 70 per cent of the evaluation score, while commercial aspects account for the remaining 30 per cent.
The most recent women’s World Cup in France enjoyed record television audiences and high attendances, with the US winning a record fourth title.
Fifa has since fast-tracked the process of expanding the tournament to 32 teams. The body’s chief women’s football officer, Sarai Bareman, explained to SportBusiness that the decision would help create “increased playing opportunities for the women’s game all over the world.”