Tokyo, Jun 22 (efe-epa).- Japan has decided to withdraw its bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Japan Football Association (JFA) said in a statement on Monday.
The soccer association, however, did not give any reasons explaining the withdrawal.
“The decision to withdraw from the bid was taken after careful and thorough consideration in the Japan Bid Committee as well as the JFA Executive Committee,” JFA President Kohzo Tashima said.
Tashima said that taking advantage of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics – postponed to summer 2021 – and the establishment of a women’s professional soccer league in the country, the JFA has been “thriving to push forward the enhancement and development of women’s football.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world and also the whole football family hard. We will continue to support the severely affected football clubs financially and work together with all stakeholders to bring back the world where we can safely enjoy the game we all love,” he said.
The JFA president expressed solidarity with the Asian soccer fraternity and said that Japan would offer necessary support “to lead to a successful bid,” for the other nations aspiring to host the tournament.
Japan’s bid for the women’s world cup had been shortlisted along with Australia/New Zealand, Colombia and Brazil, which also withdrew from the race on Jun. 8.
As per FIFA’s latest bid evaluations released on Jun. 10, the joint bid by Australia and New Zealand was given the highest average score of 4.1 out of 5, while Japan scored 3.9 and Colombia 2.8. The scores are based on a number of factors including stadiums and accommodation.
Although the Japanese bid was praised for the quality, maintenance and management of its stadiums – which have already hosted elite competitions such as the 2002 FIFA Men’s World Cup and the 2019 Rugby World Cup – FIFA also noted that its preferred window for the competition, July-August, coincided with the warmest months of the Japanese summer.
The world soccer body is set to announce the host(s) of the Women’s World Cup – which will see participation by 32 teams – on Jun. 25. EFE-EPA