South Africa has withdrawn its bid to host world soccer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) flagship national teams tournament in 2027.

The country's submission was among four bids looking to stage the tournament, but the South African Football Association (SAFRA) has now announced it will focus on bidding for the competition in 2031 instead to avoid showing a “rushed presentation” to world governing body FIFA in December.

FIFA has given a deadline of December 8 for potential hosts to submit their plans, with a decision to be made at the governing body’s congress in Bangkok, Thailand on May 17, 2024.

In a statement, SAFRA said: “The time frame for developing the 2027 FIFA WWC bid has been challenging.

“We felt it was better to present a well-prepared bid for the 2031 Women’s World Cup rather than producing a rushed presentation.”

Tumi Dlamini, chairperson of SA’s 2027 WWC bid, added: “Football remains one of the most unifying sports in the world, and investing in women’s sports must continue to be a priority in South Africa.

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“Whilst I am saddened that South Africa has to pull out of the 2027 bid, I have no doubt that we will come back with a strong and compelling bid for the 2031 FIFA Women’s World Cup. South Africa’s efforts to invest in women’s sports will and must be a priority. We wish the rest of the bidding nations all of the best.”

The remaining candidates for the 2027 edition include a joint bid from Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, another joint bid by Mexico and the United States, and an individual submission from Brazil.

Australia and New Zealand hosted the successful 2023 Women’s World Cup earlier this year, which Spain won.

FIFA announced the launch of its bidding process to find a host or hosts for the tournament on March 23, with member nations given a deadline of April 19 to submit their expressions of interest.

Brazil has never hosted the Women’s World Cup but has staged the men’s event twice, in 1950 and 2014. South Africa, which missed out after bidding for the upcoming 2023 Women’s World Cup, is seeking to bring the event to Africa for the first time. It hosted the men's tournament in 2010.

The US, meanwhile, has hosted the Women’s World Cup twice before, in 1999 and 2003, while bidding partner Mexico has never staged the tournament.

The tournament will be held one year after the men’s 2026 World Cup, which is being co-hosted by the US, Canada, and Mexico. The 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games are also taking place in the US.

In the European bid, meanwhile, Germany hosted the Women’s World Cup in 2011, while the Netherlands staged the UEFA Euro in 2019. Belgium has never hosted a major women’s tournament. If that bid is successful, it will be the first time that a Women’s World Cup will be staged across three countries.

The 2015 Women’s World Cup was hosted by Canada, while the last edition of the tournament in 2019 was staged in France.