Australia and New Zealand will be hot favourites to be named hosts for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup later this week, with rivals Japan pulling out of contention to stage the event.
- A joint bid by Australia and New Zealand is one of two in the running to host the World Cup
- Only Colombia is left in the running to host the 2023 tournament
- The host rights will be decided in a vote later this week
Japan has officially ended its bid to host the tournament, leaving Colombia as the only other country in contention.
The Japan Football Association (JFA) confirmed its withdrawal from the process in a press conference this evening.
The FIFA Council will make its decision on the host in an online meeting and open vote on Thursday, with an announcement expected in the early hours of Friday, Australian time.
On the surface, Japan’s withdrawal — and subsequent backing of its former rival bid — hands a clear advantage to Australia and New Zealand.
Like Australia, Japan is a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and it would appear likely that AFC votes previously split between the competing bids will now go to the Australia-New Zealand.
The Oceania Football Confederation, of which New Zealand is a member, has already publicly endorsed the joint bid, with the Southeast Asian ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) recently following suit.
Last week, Australia and New Zealand received the highest score in FIFA’s technical evaluation of the three bids.
The joint bid scored 4.1 out of five in the report, with Japan awarded 3.9 and Colombia trailing on 2.8.
Australia received higher scores than Colombia in all technical criterion.
South American Football Federation (CONMEBOL) president Alejandro Dominguez and Colombian Football Federation president Ramon Jesurun wrote to FIFA to object to the Colombia bid’s evaluation score — but FIFA stood by its report.
Brazil withdrew from the running earlier this month, leaving Colombia as the only South American country in the running.
In its guide to the bidding process, FIFA emphasised its commitment to “conduct an open, ethical and thorough bidding process” to select the host, which includes an open vote.