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World Football

SARS: FIFA executive decides to relocate FIFA Women's World Cup 2003

The 4th FIFA Women's World Cup 2003, due to be staged in PR China from 23September to 11 October, will be transferred to another country in view ofthe current health threat in China, which is greatly affected by the SARSepidemic.

The FIFA Executive Committee, chaired by President Joseph S. Blatter,passed this decision at its meeting today, in compliance with a unanimousrecommendation from the Sports Medical Committee of football's worldgoverning body (chairman: Dr Michel D'Hooghe, Belgium). The FIFA SportsMedical Committee had advised against holding the world championship inChina after consulting experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) andspecialists in epidemiology and travel medicine in universities throughoutEurope.

To date, the USA and Australia have expressed interest in staging thecompetition. The FIFA administration will be clarifying the situation overthe next few weeks, especially with regard to the timing of thechampionship. The final competition should, ideally, coincide with thetiming of that originally planned for China. Either the FIFA Emergency orExecutive Committee will pass the final decision.

At the same time the Executive Committee announced that the 2007 Women'sWorld Cup would be awarded to China.

Further information will be given at the media conference to be held afterthe Executive Committee meeting at 15.00 h today, Saturday. The mediaconference can be watched live via the official website of FIFA( ).