Belgium allowed backdoor entry into the bidding race for the women’s World Cup

USA women's national team during the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 final match between United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France.
USA women's national team during the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 final match between United States of America and The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon on July 07, 2019 in Lyon, France.
Image: VI Images via Getty Images

Belgium have been allowed backdoor entry into the bidding race for the next women’s World Cup‚ adding another formidable opponent to South Africa’s hopes of hosting the 2023 event.

The late entry was allowed after FIFA decided to increase the number of finalists from 24 to 32 in the wake of the successful tournament in France in June‚ where Banyana Banyana made their World Cup debut.

After expanding the size of the next women’s World Cup‚ FIFA re-opened the bidding process for the next event with Belgium using the opportunity to add their name to the list of potential hosts.

It means there are now a total of 10 countries bidding in what is a low- profile affair‚ with FIFA purposely not seeking to repeat the previous circus-like circumstance that has surrounded the bidding process.

The other countries are Argentina‚ Australia‚ Bolivia‚ Brazil‚ Colombia‚ Japan‚ New Zealand and South Korea (who are planning a joint bid with North Korea).

It is the largest-ever list of countries to have submitted a bid for a single tournament in FIFA’s history.

For the next women’s World Cup‚ FIFA do not want the host country to build new infra structure but to use established stadia‚ which heightens South Africa’s chances.

But the financial crisis with cash-stricken parastatals‚ like Eskom‚ SAA and the SABC‚ suggests it would be tough for the government to justify giving multi millions towards hosting costs.

FIFA have now given all 10 bidding countries a new overview of the bidding process‚ which includes updated high-level hosting requirements.

They all have until Monday‚ September 2 to confirm their participation.

After that‚ the next deadline is mid-December when countries must submit their bid book‚ the signed hosting agreement and all other hosting and bidding documents to FIFA‚ who will send official inspectors in early 2020.

The winner of the bidding process is expected to be named by May‚ giving the host nation exactly three years to prepare.

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