Japan withdraws Women’s World Cup bid for hosting, boosting trans-Tasman bid

Japan withdraws its Women's World Cup bid, boosting for trans-Tasman bid
Japan withdraws its Women's World Cup bid, boosting for trans-Tasman bid

Australia and New Zealand’s joint bid to host the Women’s World Cup 2023 has received a significant boost as one of the three contenders and its main rival Japan, announced that it would withdraw its bid.

The Japan Football Association [JFA] announced their decision to withdraw their bid and to support for Australia and New Zealand’s joint effort, plus the postponement for a year of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics had been factors in the decision. Fifa executives are supposed to meet and decide the hosting rights on Thursday,

Today, we decided to withdraw our bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup. I could not be more disappointed to have to make this tough decision.

Kozo Tashima, JFA President

Tashima also mentioned that a recent Fifa evaluation had praised Japan’s proposal. Again he rated Australian and New Zealand’s bid even higher.

“Japan’s position in the race is far from optimistic … I have to say that it is getting even tougher,” Tashima said after a JFA board meeting, adding that the association would consider how best to boost Japan’s presence in women’s football.

Earlier, FIFA declared Australia and New Zealand’s bid assessed to be the strongest of the three, on the basis of stadium facilities, commercial return, broadcast metrics and fan engagement. It received a score of 4.1/5 and was praised for bettering women’s football and raising participation in Asia.

Japan came a close second, scoring 3.9/5. Colombia was ranked in the third position, with a score of 2.8/5.

With Japan’s withdrawal, Colombia remains as the only competitor to Australia and New Zealand’s joint bid.

Japan’s withdrawal comes after Brazil pulled out of the running earlier in June, citing long-term Covid-19 related funding issues.

The JFA’s decision to withdraw will come as a blow to women’s football in Japan.

Japan had been a strong contender of women shocked the USA to win the tournament in 2011 and finished runners-up to the Americans four years later.

Hosting the Women’s World Cup for the first time would have been the highlight of plans to develop the women’s game in Japan over the next three years, including the launch next year of the professional WE (women’s empowerment) League.