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South Africa has withdrawn its bid to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup and will instead focus on mounting a strong campaign to hold the 2031 edition.
The South African Football Association announced the strategic move on Monday, saying “We felt it was better to present a well-prepared bid for 2031.” Officials want to avoid rushing together a last-minute proposal with the December 8 deadline looming.
The decision leaves three contenders still targeting the 2027 games – joint bids from Belgium/Netherlands/Germany, the USA/Mexico and Brazil.
A FIFA vote in May 2024 will select a winner to follow Australia and New Zealand as hosts in 2023. Interest in the quadrennial event has skyrocketed after Spain’s victory over England in front of 75,000 fans at the 2022 final.
By opting out this time, South Africa hopes extra preparation and planning can help it land the trophy in 2031. Competing with less haste improves chances for infrastructure upgrades and coordinated support.
Securing the Women’s World Cup would highlight Africa’s passion for the beautiful game. With strategic patience, South Africa may yet dribble into position to score a historic hosting victory.