Brazil to stage 2027 Women's WC
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Brazil to stage 2027 Women's WC

Thailand eyes major international events

The Women's World Cup will take place in South America for the first time after Brazil was chosen to host the 2027 edition at the 74th Fifa Congress yesterday.

Member of the International Olympic Committee Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul and Infantino.

After the success of Australia and New Zealand in 2023, which earned a record US$570 million in commercial revenue, Fifa chose to continue its push to expand women's football to new continents.

Delegates meeting in Bangkok voted by 119 votes to 78 to send the 10th Women's World Cup to the land of samba football, which beat a joint bid from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

The decision sparked jubilant celebrations from the Brazilian bid team.

Brazil, home of women's football great Marta, scored higher than its European rival in Fifa's evaluation report.

The Fifa inspectors noted 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 final.

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

Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), takes a photo with Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), during the 74th FIFA Congress at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.

The congress, making its debut in Thailand, made its choice by open vote for the first time as the organisation seeks to move on from the corruption and shady dealing that dogged it in the past.

Delegates had their choice simplified last month when the United States and Mexico withdrew their joint bid, deciding instead to focus on trying to win the right to stage the 2031 edition.

As the Brazil tournament approaches, the focus will be on the huge financial disparity between men's and women's football.

Prize money for the 2023 Women's World Cup was a record $110 million, but still far short of the $440 million on offer to teams at the 2022 men's finals in Qatar.

The congress also heard a call from the Palestinian FA (PFA) to suspend Israel from the world body and ban Israeli teams from Fifa events.

PFA head Jibril Rajoub said the Israeli FA (IFA) had broken Fifa rules, adding: "Fifa cannot afford to remain indifferent to these violations or to the ongoing genocide in Palestine."

His Israeli counterpart Shino Moshe Zuares rejected the call as "cynical, political and hostile", insisting the IFA had not broken any Fifa rules.

Fifa supremo Gianni Infantino said the body would take independent legal advice on the matter and decide by July 20 what action to take, if any.

The congress also approved changes to Fifa statutes, removing the rule fixing the organisation's headquarters in Zurich, where it has been since 1932.

The rule now says the location of the HQ will be "determined by a decision passed by the congress" -- opening the way for it to move from the Swiss city.

Delegates also voted to multiply the number of committees from seven to 35, reversing steps taken in 2016 to clean up Fifa after it was rocked by a wave of corruption scandals.

The remits of the new committees include women's football, the fight against racism and eSports, but critics say they risk re-establishing a patronage system the reforms had sought to abolish.

A uniting force

President of the Football Association of Thailand Nualphan Lamsam had the honour of giving a speech in front of more than 3,000 delegates from 211 member associations before the start of yesterday's congress at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.

"We hope that all the delegates are impressed by the welcome from Thailand. This is a matter of great pride and joy for us to be chosen to host the 74th Fifa Congress," said Nualphan, who won a historic FAT election in February to become the first female leader of the organisation.

From left: Michel Salgado, Javier Zanetti and Luis Figo take part in the Fifa Congress Delegation Football Tournament at RBSC on Thursday. 

"I am very pleased that Fifa, with a strong leader like Mr Gianni Infantino and the executive board, has shown commitment in increasing diversity and equality in the sport that we love and has given the opportunity to Thailand to host this prestigious event.

"After having the opportunities to attend many meetings, I can say from the bottom of my heart that Fifa is aiming to truly unite the world of football. I have seen people from different walks of life coming together, holding hands because of our love and passion for football. I believe that football is more than just a sport, it is a way of life that can bring peace and improve people's lives," she added.

"Finally, I wish everyone to return from Thailand with happiness, smiles and memories. I hope Thailand will be seen as a destination for hosting international football tournaments, such as the World Cup in the future."

Exhibition match

Fifa chief Infantino and some of the former international and Thai footballers took part in the Fifa Congress Delegation Football Tournament at the RBSC ground on Thursday.

There were eight teams taking part in the event, with the Fifa team beating the Uefa team 2-0 in the final.

Among the former international footballers taking part in the tournament were Cafu, Dida and Gilberto Silva of Brazil, David Trezeguet, Mikael Silvestre and Christian Karembeu of France, Clarence Seedorf and Wesley Sneijder of Netherlands, Juan Sebastian Veron and Javier Zanetti of Argentina, Bulgaria's Hristo Stoichkov, Portugal's Luis Figo, Spain's Michel Salgado, Nigeria's John Obi Mikel and Togo's Emmanuel Adebayor. 

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