A record nine nations have expressed an interest in hosting the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, according to world football's governing body.
Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, a joint Korean bid, New Zealand and South Africa have all officially entered the bidding process. The nine submissions mark the longest ever list of member associations at this stage of the process to host the tournament since its inaugural edition in 1991.
While the joint Korean bid may raise eyebrows, FIFA head Gianni Infantino has encouraged the bid, which may be helped by the two countries fielding a unified team in last year’s Winter Olympics and Asian Games.
However, hosting could be lopsided in favour of South Korea, with the South already having the infrastructure in place to stage the tournament.
All nine of the interested nations will now be provided with overview and bidding documents, and have until April 16 to submit their completed registration to FIFA.
Potential host nations have until October 4, 2019 to submit their bids for hosting the tournament, with FIFA to make a final decision in March 2020.
Unlike in the men’s tournament bidding process, where the full FIFA membership casts a vote, the FIFA Council will vote to award the Women’s World Cup.
However, FIFA has now reversed its position and agreed to make public its vote on the 2023 Women’s World Cup host. Following last week’s FIFA Council meeting in Miami, world football's governing body announced that the result of each ballot and related votes of each member will be made open to the public.
In a statement, FIFA said it "will implement a fair and transparent process, which will include a clear evaluation model, as well as a concrete commitment to sustainability and human rights".
For both the 2015 and 2019 editions of the tournament, only two nations bid to host.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 kicks off in France this summer and will be played across 12 cities.