Unlike men’s World Cup, no public vote on women’s event host

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

LONDON (AP) FIFA will still decide the host of the Women’s World Cup in secret, unlike the new open vote held last year for host of the 2026 men’s tournament.

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The 2023 bidding process was launched Tuesday, and FIFA adopted many of the rigorous checks and scrutiny prospective men’s hosts now have to go through.

But the final decision is a very different process.

Following corruption investigations into the vote for men’s hosts in 2018 and 2022, FIFA removed the decision from its ruling committee and gave it to all member associations. When it came to deciding the 2026 men’s hosts last year, the votes were made public after the FIFA Congress chose the joint bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada over Morocco’s entry.

But in March 2020 it will be the FIFA Council, a select group of 37 people which meets in private, deciding where the women’s top players will compete in 2023.

“FIFA’s Statutes explicitly stipulate that the selection of venues for the final competitions of all tournaments rests with the FIFA Council with the exception of the FIFA World Cup, where there power lies with the Congress,” world football’s governing body said in a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

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FIFA on Tuesday asked countries to make an expression of interest in bidding by March 15, complete the bidding registration by April 16 and submit bid books by Oct. 4.

No mention was made of bidders having to go through the key procedures, described as “bulletproof” by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, that were required of 2026 World Cup contenders. Those included an assessment of human rights and risk reports for the countries, the publication of bid books, inspections of facilities and evaluation reports.

Ninety minutes after the AP asked about this lack of scrutiny and transparency, FIFA said it would be emulating those aspects of the new men’s World Cup hosting requirements.

Australia and Colombia have announced plans to bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman said it wants to see “how potential host countries will aim to promote the ultimate competition in women’s football, and create a sustainable legacy that will inspire upcoming generations of young girls and women to get involved in the game.”

The next edition is this year in France from June 7 to July 7.