Japan withdraws 2023 World Cup bid

The Japanese Football Association announced yesterday that Japan is withdrawing its bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup, just days before football’s world governing body holds a vote to determine the successful candidate.

Following an executive board meeting on Monday, the JFA withdrew its candidacy and decided to support the Australia/New Zealand bid which will go up against a bid from Colombia.

Earlier this month, FIFA rated the joint Australia/New Zealand bid as the best to host the tournament, with Japan in second place.

The JFA said a key factor behind their decision was losing the support of the Southeast Asian ASEAN Football Federation (AFF), who have publicly said they would support the Australia/New Zealand bid.

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games now being delayed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the JFA said they found it unlikely one country would be awarded women’s soccer’s two biggest tournaments back-to-back.

JFA chairman Kozo Tashima left the door open for another bid in the future.

“We have shown how we could host the tournament in Japan in our bid, so I don’t think our efforts were in vain,” he said.

Japan’s withdrawal leaves the Australia/New Zealand bid in pole position ahead of Thursday’s vote. – AFP

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