South Africa have removed themselves from the running as hosts for the Women’s World Cup in 2023.
The country previous opted not to step in as hosts for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations next year, saying they wished to focus on their bid for the 2023 World Cup.
The South African Football Association (Safa) said that it would instead be focusing on developing the women’s game in the country and the women’s domestic league before submitting an application to host an international competition.
South Africa’s women’s team featured at their first World Cup this summer in France.
“We want to strengthen our women’s national league first before we invite the world to come and play.
“Definitely, we will consider doing 2027 and we think, by that time, we will have a stronger women’s league and a much stronger women’s national team,” Safa announced.
There are signals, however, that the decision has been influenced by tension with the sport’s minister for South Africa and the country’s economic downturn.
It is no secret that Safa have had a fractious relationship with the country’s Sports Minister, Nathi Mthethwa. Mr Mthethwa’s support on the bid would be essential for the country to be entered as a potential host, and this appears unlikely.
In an embarrassing moment for the minister earlier this year, Safa refused to participate in a conference he called regarding the future of football in South Africa. Mr Mthethwa was subsequently forced to cancel the conference.
The remaining countries left in the race to host the next women’s World Cup are Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, South Korea (possibly a joint bid with North Korea). FIFA are expected to announce the hosts in May 2020.
Australia and New Zealand have also announced they will be submitting a last-minute joint bid to be hosts of the competition.
The joint bid is proposing to host the final of the women’s tournament in Sydney, at the newly renovated 75,000 capacity ANZ Stadium in the Olympic Park.