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Japan Withdraws 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Bid, Australia-New Zealand Bid Boosted

Australia and New Zealand’s joint bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has been strengthened even further after Japan announced it was pulling out of the race.

Japan has become the second country to exit the bidding race after the Brazilian Football Confederation announced its withdrawal at the beginning of the month due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the FIFA Council set to announce the winning bid on June 25, the Australia-New Zealand joint bid is now the clear favourite as Colombia remain the only opposition to host the national soccer tournament.

In FIFA’s evaluation report, which was published earlier this month, the trans-Tasman bid ranked the highest with a score of 4.1 out of five, while Colombia’s bid scored 2.8 in the report, due to the requirement of ‘a significant amount of investment and support’ to reach the level of the other proposals.

In a joint letter to the FIFA Council, Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, declared their support for the nations’ historic attempt to become the first ever co-confederation hosted World Cup.

“An Australia-New Zealand FIFA Women’s World Cup would embody our passion for women’s football and proud commitment to equality and fairness, creating a profound and enduring legacy for the future of women’s football within the region and beyond,” the joint statement said.

“We would host a tournament FIFA can be proud of in every way possible: technical excellence, record-breaking crowds, commercial certainty, and a warm embrace from our 200 different cultures.

“Football is the game that connects us all.

“We sincerely hope that an Australia-New Zealand FIFA Women’s World Cup will bring us all together again in 2023, when we can all celebrate humanity, community and unity through football,” the statement said.

In response to the endorsements from the Prime Ministers, FFA president, Chris Nikou, and NZF president, Johanna Wood, said they are doing everything possible to ensure the Asia-Pacific region and the southern hemisphere hosts its first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“We thank Prime Ministers Morrison and Ardern for their backing at this crucial stage of the bid process and for the support of their respective governments over many months,” the joint statement said.

“There is real momentum to our bid with just days to go until the final vote.

“We are doing everything we can in this crucial last phase to communicate just what a game changer our hosting concept would be for women’s football, across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond,” they said.