The 2003 edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup is to be held in China PR. The FIFA Committee for Women's Football (chair: Per Ravn Omdal, Norway) decided to recommend to the FIFA Executive that the major women's football event be awarded to the country that had already successfully hosted the inaugural tournament in 1991.
In making this recommendation, the Committee for Women's Football also expressed its satisfaction at being able to choose between two excellent bids, the second candidature having come from Australia. The members of the committee felt that after the huge success in the USA in 1999, the Women's World Cup should again go to a country with an already established large women's football movement, China being one of the powerhouses not only in Asia but at a global level as well.
The format of the event will remain unchanged from the one in 1999 with 16 participating teams to be divided into four groups of four teams each. The dates of the event and the venues have yet to be determined. The quotas of teams per continent were proposed as follows: Asia 3.5* teams (incl. hosts China PR), CONCACAF 2.5* teams, Africa 2, South America 2, Europe 5 and Oceania 1.
With a view to further enlarging the basis of women's football worldwide and following up on a previous decision by the FIFA Executive, the committee also recommended holding the first female youth event in 2002. Scheduled to take place after the men's World Cup in August/September, the event will now be staged for U-19 teams and is to be a biennial competition contested in even years. 12 teams in three groups of four teams each are to play group matches, quarter finals, semi-finals and finals. The allocation of teams per continent will be finalised once the host country of the inaugural competition is known in spring 2001. According to information from the continental confederations, some 90 associations are expected to enrol teams for the preliminary competition to this new event.
The 2004 Women's Olympic Football Tournament in Athens was the third competition to be dealt with by the committee. With an increase from currently eight to twelve teams, the committee will propose retaining the same tournament format as for the U-19 event to the FIFA Executive. The committee also noted with great satisfaction the success women's football had enjoyed at the Sydney Olympics, where some 350,000 spectators had watched the 16 matches.
Finally, in order to enhance the image of the women's game further throughout the world, the committee approved the proposal to stage an annual Women's Football Day with special initiatives at confederation, national and regional level, similar to the highly successful FIFA Fair Play Day.
*denotes play-offs between teams of the confederations concerned