Fifa to award 2027 World Cup on Friday
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Fifa to award 2027 World Cup on Friday

All set for historic Congress in Bangkok

Fifa chief Gianni Infantino, right, presents a Fifa jersey to Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. (Photo supplied)
Fifa chief Gianni Infantino, right, presents a Fifa jersey to Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. (Photo supplied)

Football's world governing body Fifa will decide the hosts for the 2027 Women's World Cup at its congress in Bangkok on Friday.

After the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand lifted the women's game to new heights, Fifa must decide whether to take the 2027 edition to South America for the first time or return to Europe.

Fifa's 74th Congress -- held for the first time in Premier League-mad Thailand -- will also hear a call from the Palestinian Football Association to sanction Israel for "violations of international laws", though Fifa says it will not vote on the matter.

Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, left, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and Nualphan Lamsam, right, president of the Football Association of Thailand, pose for a photo with FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

Delegates will vote on Women's World Cup bids from Brazil and a joint offer from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

Brazil, home of women's football greats such as Formiga and Marta, appear to be the narrow favourites after Fifa's evaluation task force scored their bid slightly higher.

The evaluation report notes the "tremendous impact on women's football in the region" that South America hosting the Women's World Cup would have.

Brazil's bid includes 10 stadiums used for the men's World Cup in 2014, with Rio de Janeiro's famous Maracana lined up for the opening match and the final.

But work needs to be done, in particular to the Amazonia stadium in Manaus which has stood almost unused for a decade.

By contrast, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands are offering a "compact tournament footprint" that uses rail links to reduce the environmental impact.

But the Fifa inspectors warned of a "more complex legal framework" with the European bid -- which could mean higher costs.

The bid aims to be the most commercially successful Women's World Cup so far, though the evaluation report noted the smaller stadium sizes would make it harder to break the attendance records set in Australia and New Zealand last year.

Amsterdam's Johan Cruyff Arena and the cauldron of the Westfalenstadion, home to Borussia Dortmund, have been earmarked for key matches.

But since Europe has hosted the tournament three times before -- including Germany in 2011 and France in 2019 -- delegates may favour breaking fresh ground.

The congress will make its decision today by open vote for the first time, as Fifa tries to pursue transparency after years of accusations of shady backroom dealing.

Fifa will also make a fresh stand on racism at the congress.

President Gianni Infantino has called for a concerted fight against racism, after numerous instances of abuse hurled at Real Madrid and Brazil forward Vinicius Junior in Spain, among others.

Earlier, at a reception for the visiting officials hosted by the Thai government at the Government House on Wednesday, Infantino pledged support for Thai football and presented a Fifa jersey to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who is an avid football fan.

Among the guests at Wednesday's reception were former France internationals Youri Djorkaeff, David Trezeguet, ex-Nigeria star John Obi Miguel, former Brazil internationals Gilberto Silva, Dida and former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is now Fifa's chief of Global Football Development.

AFC backs Palestine bid

The Asian Football Confederation gave its backing to Palestine's proposal to suspend Israel from Fifa due to the ongoing war in Gaza at its congress yesterday, as the regional body also abolished term limits for its senior office bearers.

AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa voiced his support for the Palestine Football Association's motion ahead of today's Fifa Congress, which seeks to "adopt immediate and appropriate sanctions against Israeli teams".

"The AFC is only as strong as its members and when one suffers, all its other members are affected," Sheikh Salman told delegates. "The AFC stands together with the Palestine FA, and we join them in seeking effective football-related solutions to the grievances raised by the Palestine FA in their proposal.

"It is our duty to support the Palestine FA for a swift and effective resolution in line with the rules, regulations and statutes of the AFC and Fifa."

The proposal was sent by the Palestinians to Fifa on March 11 and will be discussed during the body's annual gathering after being added to the agenda with the support of four federations.

The AFC chief also expressed his gratitude to president of the Football Association of Thailand Nualphan Lamsam for the warm welcome and praised Thailand for being an excellent host country to the congress. agencies/bangkok post

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