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France announced as 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosts

FIFA has announced that thee 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be hosted by France.

Strong favourites pre-announcement, the French bid was chosen ahead of the only other contender Korea Republic.

“France and Korea Republic gave us two excellent bids,” said FIFA Executive Committee member Lydia Nsekera.

“It was a tough choice for the Executive Committee but one we could make with confidence.”

“We wish all the best to France and their preparation.”

As well as the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, France, as host nations have traditionally done so, will also host the 2018 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup.

The U20 tournament is often seen as a dress rehearsal for the main event with many, if not all, of the same stadiums used during the event.

“I would like first of all to thank FIFA for this very important decision,” said French Football Federation president Noël Le Graët.

“It is an opportunity for France to organise such an event and I want to express the happiness of the Federation, the whole country.”

The announcement followed a unanimous decision by the FIFA Executive Committee.

Five nations, England, France, Korea Republic, New Zealand and South Africa, declared initial interest in hosting the events before France and Korea Republic were left in October 2014.

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The criteria for the FIFA Women’s World Cup bids covered a range of areas including:

  • cost efficiency
  • promotion
  • potential for creating a national football legacy programme
  • support and involvement of the football community
  • existing infrastructure and viability of projects to improve it
  • private and public support.

France’s bid will see 11 host cities including Auxerre, Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Nancy, Nice, Paris, Rennes, Reims, Montpellier and Valenciennes.

The host stadiums are set to have the average capacity of 20,000 and 35,000.

France’s Bid Book also listed the other advantages of their hosting as:

  • Short distances / reduced travel time: Less than 1 hour to reach stadiums from the host cities with all facilities located nearby
  • Easy organisation and reduced budget with many of the facilities already built and close to FIFA standards
  • Player Village: Players would live in a village, as in the Olympics, situated at the University of Rennes or, if that option is not selected by FIFA, there would be the traditional hotels.
  • A main stadium for 30,000 seats to be used for the opening ceremony and the final of the U20 Women’s World Cup
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Strong investment in the women’s program by the FFF in the last decade has seen Les Bleues emerge as one of the powers of women’s football and the hosting of the Women’s World Cup is a the latest step taken by the FFF in cementing that position.

“France has been working on women’s football for some years now,” Le Graët continued.

“I know that you are really giving us a strong opportunity to continue to develop this on a world scale.”

For Korea Republic, the hosting of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup was always going to be a tough proposition, particularly once Asian Football Confederation associates Japan and Australia expressed their interests in hosting the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

It would have been highly unlikely that FIFA would award the hosting of a major tournament to the same confederation in successive editions.

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ANN ODONG

Ann is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TWG.
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