To the surprise of nobody, FIFA selected Canada on Thursday as the host of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The 2015 edition of the tournament will be the first ever Women’s World Cup to feature 24 teams, which expands the field by eight from its current number of 16 participants. The Women’s World Cup began in 1991 in China. That competition featured just 12 teams, with the United States defeating Norway 2-1 in the final thanks to two goals from Michelle Akers.
Canada hosting the 2015 event – as well as the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2014 – comes as no surprise. Zimbabwe was the only other bidding country until earlier in the week when it pulled its bid, leaving Canada as the only potential host.
“The successful bid would not have been possible without support from all levels of government and we wish to express our sincere appreciation for the role that they have played in our successful bid,” Canadian Soccer Association General Secretary Peter Montopoli said in a press release. “In particular, the Government of Canada has been a key partner from the onset of the bid process along with the respective provincial and municipal governments.”
Seven Canadian cities were included in Canada’s bid: Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montréal, Halifax and Moncton. Toronto and the state of the art BMO Field is noticeably absent from the list. Canada has committed up to $15 million to hosting the U-20 Women’s World Cup and the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
The 2015 Women’s World Cup will be the seventh edition of the tournament and it will be the third time it has been in North America (USA 1999, 2003). China hosted the event in 1991 and 2007. Sweden served as host in 1995 and Germany will host the 2011 edition.
Clearly, as the women’s game is still developing around the world, there is a lack of diversity in host nations for Women’s World Cups. That is not necessarily a bad thing, although eventually the game will need to spread more globally. For now, well organized events in China, the United States and soon, Germany and Canada, will help the tournament grow.
With an expanded field and a growing level of global talent, the 2019 Women’s World Cup could (and maybe should) be the first to be played in South America or Africa. Australia has also shown a commitment to women’s soccer and could prove to be a good choice for FIFA as it moves into uncharted territory.
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