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Moving the Women's World Cup

A few days ago, I drafted (but didn't finish) a blog entry in which I predicted that FIFA would move the Women's World Cup 2003 -- previously scheduled to be held in Shanghai, 23 September-11 October -- to another venue on account of SARS. I woke up this morning, opened up Movable Type to finish the entry, and found they had beat me to it:

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

To date, the USA and Australia have expressed interest in staging the competition. The FIFA administration will be clarifying the situation over the next few weeks, especially with regard to the timing of the championship. The final competition should, ideally, coincide with the timing of that originally planned for China...

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

As much as I'd love to see the women play here, Australia would be a great choice. I've never been, but its reputation for hospitality is well-known, and in the wake of the 2000 Olympics, they have wonderful sporting facilities. Also, while the 1999 Cup was held in the US, Australia has never hosted it. Anyway, given how political FIFA is, and given the appearance of taking an event away from China and moving it to the US, it seems almost certain they'll award it to Australia.

This isn't the only change in sport as a result of the SARS epidemic:

The women's ice hockey world championships, scheduled to be played in China, was canceled, and the world badminton championships, to be held in Birmingham, England, has been postponed because of the large number of Asians expected to compete.

On Friday, the International Cycling Union moved the world track cycling championships to Europe.

More news on women's soccer can be found here.

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