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2027 Women's World Cup

Kassouf: 2027 World Cup bids will test FIFA’s prerogatives

Will Brazil or South Africa earn the right to host the tournament for the first time on either respective continent? Or will the commercial appeal of another World Cup in the United States be too irresistible?

Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Kassouf’s weekly, subscribers-only column tackles the biggest topics in women’s soccer in the U.S. and globally, and provides unparalleled insight and analysis into weekly events with the NWSL and United States women’s national team. Unlock his column and much more by starting your FREE, 7-day trial today.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has long discussed his desire to grow women’s soccer. Now, he and the delegates he serves must decide how. The 2027 Women’s World Cup presents two drastically different directions.

Last week, FIFA announced that four groups expressed interest in hosting the 2027 Women’s World Cup, a tournament which inexcusably will not have a host selected until May 2024. There is a striking dichotomy between two types of bids: two come from countries that would be the first hosts of the tournament for their respective continents, and two involve historical juggernauts who have previously hosted Women’s World Cups.

For FIFA, the question will be this: Does growing the women’s game mean bringing the largest women’s sporting event in the world to a new place, and ostensibly leaving a legacy on an entire continent? Or is growth measured purely through a dollars-and-cents, commercial lens?

U.S. Soccer threw its name into the hat to host in 2027, announcing a joint bid with Mexico. The news was shocking only because the bid is for the 2027 World Cup, not the 2031 edition. The U.S., Mexico and Canada are already confirmed joint hosts of the 2026 Men’s World Cup, and the Summer Olympics will be in Los Angeles in 2028. Wedging in the 2027 tournament is either brilliant opportunism or lunacy by way of oversaturation.

Up against the U.S./Mexico partnership is another joint bid between Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Germany hosted the Women’s World Cup in 2011; the U.S. hosted in both 1999 and 2003, the latter by emergency as the SARS outbreak forced the tournament to relocate from China.

The most intriguing, expected bids, however, come from South Africa and Brazil, the reigning champions of their respective continents.

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