— Published 25 April 2023

A four-way battle for the Women’s World Cup in 2027

A sign. With just over four years to go, four of football’s six continental confederations are expected to compete for the 2027 Women’s World Cup.

With a score of four out of six, FIFA can be proud. The Women’s World Cup is now attracting the whole world. For the 2027 edition, only two confederations are missing: the AFC for Asia and the OFC for Oceania. But there are reasons for their absence. Australia, co-host of the 2023 edition, has been a member of the AFC since 2006. New Zealand, the other host country of the 2023 World Cup, belongs to the OFC. Asia and Oceania have therefore chosen to skip their turn.

For the rest, nothing is missing. UEFA is represented by a three-legged bid, formed by Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. CAF is in the running with South Africa. CONCACAF supports the joint project of the USA and Mexico. Finally, CONMEBOL is involved in the battle with Brazil.

Commenting on the four declarations of interest, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said: “We are very pleased to have received these declarations of interest, not least because they come from member associations from four different confederations, all of which have a rich footballing tradition, confirming the great popularity of women’s football around the world.”

On paper, the race for the 2027 Women’s World Cup looks set to be one of the most open in history. With just over a year to go before the decision, due to be made on 17 May 2024 by a vote of FIFA’s member federations, it is still difficult to distinguish one file leading the pack.

Europe has gone first. Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands have been working on their joint bid for almost three years. The three countries have already come up with a campaign slogan, “Breaking New Ground“. Its initials, BNG, also correspond to the first letters of the English names of the three applicants (Belgium, Netherland, Germany). Not bad.

The only one of the three countries that can boast of having already organised the event, in 2011, Germany has designated its host cities: Dortmund, Duisburg, Düsseldorf and Cologne.

The European trio were again the first to officially submit their letter of interest at the end of last month, four weeks before the deadline set by FIFA. “We are ready,” the three federations said on social networks. If they win, the 2027 World Cup would be the first in history to be organised jointly in three countries.

South Africa is also invoking history to give weight to its project. The country was already eyeing the 2023 edition, before giving up. The South African Football Federation revived the idea after the recent success of its women’s team on the international stage, and announced it last September. Its major asset: to bring the Women’s World Cup to Africa, seventeen years after having offered the continent a first Men’s World Cup.

Brazil? Same reference to history. Since its creation in 1991, the Women’s World Cup has never visited South America. The Brazilians say that the time has come to fill this gap. The dossier can count on the support of the head of state, Lula, who is convinced that his country is now in a better position to host the tournament than it was for the men’s edition in 2014.

A surprise guest of the campaign, the US-Mexico pairing came out of the woodwork last week, just days before the registration window closed. On paper, their bid does not seem to be the strongest, mainly due to the fact that the two countries, along with Canada, hosted the men’s World Cup a year earlier. But with the United States, FIFA would be playing on the edge. The Americans have already hosted the tournament twice, in 1999 and 2003. They know how to make it profitable. They also know how to fill stadiums.

The next step is for FIFA to send the bidding agreement – a document that guarantees compliance with the key principles of the bidding process – to the bidders. They will have until 19 May 2023 to send it back. They will have until 19 May 2023 to return it and confirm their decision to enter the race.