ZURICH, Switzerland (Saturday, May 3, 2003) - FIFA announced today at an Executive Committee meeting in Zurich, Switzerland that the 4th FIFA Women's World Cup, which was scheduled to be played in China from September 23 to October 11, will be transferred to another country due to the current health threat in China.
The Executive Committee made the decision in compliance with a unanimous recommendation from the FIFA Sports Medical Committee based on the SARS epidemic in China. The Sports Medical Committee advised against holding the world championship in China after consulting experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and specialists in epidemiology and travel medicine in universities throughout Europe.
In making the announcement, FIFA awarded the 2007 Women's World Cup back to China and acknowledged that the United States and Australia have expressed interest in staging the 2003 competition.
The world governing body of soccer also said in a press release that the "final competition should, ideally, coincide with the timing of that originally planned for China." A final decision from the FIFA Emergency Committee or Executive Committee is expected within the next few weeks.
STATEMENT FROM U.S. SOCCER PRESIDENT DR. S. ROBERT CONTIGUGLIA:
We think the Women's World Cup is a very important event in the world of soccer and women's athletics. Clearly we are always interested in hosting events of this caliber, but being interested and actually hosting an event are two very different things.
Given the incredibly short timeframe it would take to pull this off, there are a great number of hurdles to cross in making something like this happen.
We will now meet with FIFA and have detailed discussions to see if it is either realistic or possible to actually host the tournament in the United States.