Brazil has withdrawn its bid to host the 2023 Fifa Women's World Cup, citing the debilitating financial impact of Covid-19 as making it impossible for them to guarantee funds towards the competition.
Fifa requires football federations to secure financial commitment from their government to ensure a tournament of its size can go ahead. In a statement on Monday, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said the coronavirus crisis had made securing this an unrealistic aim: "Due to the scenario of economic and fiscal austerity, fuelled by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, it would not be advisable, at this moment, to sign the guarantees requested by Fifa.
"[The CBF] understands the position of caution of the Brazilian government, and of other public and private partners, which stopped them from formalizing the commitments within time or in the required form.”
In bowing out of the race, the CBF voiced its support for Colombia to host the ninth edition of the World Cup, as the only South American nation left bidding for the tournament which has never been held on the continent before. They stand as the underdogs though, facing stiff competition in Australia and New Zealand, who are proposing a joint bid, and Japan. A decision is expected on June 25.
The news of Brazil's withdrawal comes after FIFPro, the global union for footballers, warned in April that the pandemic presented an "almost existential threat" to the women's game, and ran the risk of “mass unemployment and recession” unless stakeholders, policymakers, governing bodies, broadcasting companies and sponsors specifically looked to protect it.
In March, the CBF revealed record-breaking revenue of more than £150million in 2019, but the women's national team has seen a steep fall in fortunes in recent years. Ten years ago, they were ranked in the top three teams in the world and in 2007 were the runners-up at the World Cup, but they were knocked out in the last 16 at last year's tournament and are currently only ranked eighth.