ZURICH, Switzerland (Thursday, April 10, 2003) - In the light of the health risks posed by the outbreak of the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus in South-East Asia, FIFA and its President Joseph S. Blatter have decided to postpone the draw for the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2003, which was due to be held in Wuhan, China on May 24.
This preventive measure has been taken in the interests of the health of those taking part in the draw.
Statement from U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia:
"With the draw just six weeks away, this decision makes sense. The safety and security of all of our teams is paramount to U.S. Soccer's participation in any event, thus we are working very closely with our medical staff to monitor and evaluate the on-going situation. At this time, we can't get into speculating how this might affect the actual Women's World Cup tournament, which is still five months away.
"I have personally been in touch with the Infectious Disease Department at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and the information coming in at this time is that no one really knows anything about this disease, in terms of how it is spread, its effects, etcetera. So, as we always do, we will continue to closely monitor the situation and we will take our lead from the experts."