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World soccer’s governing body Fifa has rated the joint Australia-New Zealand bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup as the best to host the tournament.

Fifa said in a statement on Wednesday that it had received official ‘bid books’ from three contenders – Colombia, Japan and the joint Australia-New Zealand bid.

Fifa’s ruling council will decide which of the three contenders will host the tournament during an online meeting of its ruling council on 25 June, having published a bid evaluation report on Wednesday that gave the Australia-New Zealand bid an average score of 4.1 out of 5, with Japan on 3.9 and Colombia 2.8.

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Brazil withdrew its candidacy on Monday, saying the government did not consider it wise to offer financial guarantees in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2019 tournament in France broke records in terms of television audiences and was seen as the most high-profile edition so far.

“The quality of the bids is testimony to the tremendous momentum women’s football has generated, and we are looking forward to building on this to take women’s football to the next level at the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023,” said Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura.

Fifa’s bid evaluation report said that all three proposals met the requirements, but it questioned whether the Colombian bid had the necessary financial backing.

The report said that Colombia would need “a significant amount of investment and support from both local stakeholders and Fifa in order to elevate organisational conditions to those of the other two bids.

“Based on the documentation submitted and the information provided, it is not clear if this level of investment will be available.”

The report said the Australia-New Zealand bid appeared to “present the most commercially favourable proposition”.

Japan’s bid was praised for the quality of venues and infrastructure, as well as the ability to attract television audiences across Asia.

Reuters

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