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S. Korea withdraws bid to host 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

All News 16:01 December 13, 2019

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has pulled out of the race to host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, citing disagreements with the sport's international governing body.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced on Friday that it withdrew its bid to stage the premier women's football tournament. Friday was the deadline for interested countries to submit their bid book to FIFA.

South Korea submitted its bid for the Women's World Cup in April, with an expressed interest in co-hosting the competition with North Korea.

This file photo from April 2, 2019, shows the headquarters of the Korea Football Association in Seoul. (Yonhap)

But the KFA said Friday it has not had any discussions with its North Korean counterpart on sharing the Women's World Cup. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula, stemming from a series of North Korean provocations, have halted inter-Korean exchanges of any form.

The KFA said it hoped to push ahead with its sole bid, but it then found out that FIFA's new regulations on World Cup operations run counter to the South Korean law on hosting international sporting events.

Starting with the 2023 Women's World Cup, FIFA has decided to stop allowing host countries to form local organizing committees and will instead set up its own entity to run the tournament.

Under the change, FIFA reserves all rights to revenues generated from the competition. Under Korean law, however, the central government or regional authorities have rights to residual assets from sporting events.

The KFA said it spoke with FIFA about potential rule changes, but FIFA told South Korean officials that it couldn't make an exception for South Korea.

The KFA said FIFA's new, tougher requirements for stadiums for the Women's World Cup presented another obstacle. FIFA now requires facilities for the Women's World Cup to meet the same quality standards as those for the men's tournament. The KFA said it'd be "difficult" for regional governments to make hefty investments to build new stadiums or refurbish existing ones to host the Women's World Cup when there's uncertainty surrounding financial benefits from holding FIFA matches.

The KFA thus wasn't able to get the government to sign off on the hosting agreement, which must be included in the bid file.

South Korea co-hosted the men's World Cup with Japan in 2002, and also held the 2007 U-17 World Cup and 2017 U-20 World Cup.

In this file photo provided by the Korea Football Association (KFA) on Oct. 16, 2019, FIFA President Gianni Infantino (C) is flanked by Kim Jang-san (L), secretary general of the North Korean football association, and Chung Mong-gyu, head of the KFA, during their meeting in Pyongyang. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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