Brazil’s COVID-19 infection rate is skyrocketing.
The race to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup of soccer has lost a potential host country because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazil, which has seen a surge of the virus which is causing an enormous strain on the country’s hospital system, has dropped out of the running for the right to stage FIFA’s top women’s event. That leaves a joint bid by Australia and New Zealand, two countries that have seemingly controlled the spread of COVID-19, Columbia and Japan in the race to land the 2023 event. Brazil cannot meet the financial demands to host the tournament that the governing body of soccer, FIFA, is demanding. Brazil went after the 2014 FIFA Men’s World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics and those two events were financial disasters for the country. Japan is still in the competition to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup but the country has had to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And there is no official word yet on how much money the government and business has been lost because of the delay.
The Australia-New Zealand bid may be bolstered by the fact that New Zealand claims it has totally contained the virus threat. New Zealand has opened up stadiums for spectators to attend rugby and other sports matches. Australia is following suit as customers will be allowed this weekend to attend an Australian Rules Football game in Adelaide. Australia plans to ease social distancing protocol by the end of July. Before the pandemic, FIFA decided to expand the number of teams from 24 to 32 for the 2023 tournament and requested that countries who originally bid for the 24-team championship to resubmit a host proposal. The field dwindled to these bids. FIFA made the move because interest in women’s soccer is growing.