South Africa withdraw bid to host 2027 Women’s World Cup

The FIFA Women's World Cup trophy is pictured ahead of the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women's World Cup final
The FIFA Women's World Cup trophy is pictured ahead of the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women's World Cup final (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

The South African Football Association (SAFA) has withdrawn its bid to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup. In a statement citing the ‘challenging’ time frame at hand, the federation confirmed that it is now considering a 2031 bid. 

South Africa submitted one of four bids for the 2027 competition. Australia and New Zealand hosted the 2023 World Cup. 

When will the 2027 Women’s World Cup hosts be decided?

The FIFA Congress will select the hosts of the next Women’s World Cup on 17th May 2024, three years before the tournament kicks off. By comparison, the hosts of the next three Men’s World Cups have already been confirmed:

  • 2026 – Mexico, Canada and the United States
  • 2030 – Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, with centenary opening matches played Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay
  • 2034 – Saudi Arabia 

The short time frame in which to develop a Women’s World Cup bid was the sole reason given in SAFA’s withdrawal statement. CEO Lydia Monyepao said “We felt that it was better to present a well-prepared bid for the 2031 FIFA Women’s World Cup and ensure we put our best foot forward, rather than producing a rushed presentation.”

The SAFA’s Head of Women’s Football Romaney Pinnock reaffirmed the nation’s commitment to its growth strategy in the interim. “This work focuses on growing the game locally for girls, developing a professional women’s league and creating an effective pathway for girls to become world class football players.

A Spain player holds up the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy
A Spain player holds up the FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy after the final vs England (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Potential Women’s World Cup 2027 hosts

Following South Africa’s bid withdrawal, three potential hosts remain. Brazil, a joint bid from the USA and Mexico, and a joint bid from Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. 

The USA and Germany have both previously hosted the tournament. The US held back-to-back competitions in 1999 and 2003, and Germany was home to the 2011 tournament. 

A successful bid from Brazil will mark the first Women’s World Cup hosted in South America. 

England’s Women’s World Cup ambitions

In May, Football Association Chair Debbie Hewitt revealed that England would consider a 2031 Women’s World Cup bid

However, Europe cannot host two consecutive competitions. If the joint 2027 bid from Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands is successful, it would scupper English hopes of hosting in 2031. The earliest opportunity for a Women’s World Cup in England would therefore be 2035. 

The host nation for the 2031 tournament will be decided in the second quarter of 2025.

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