Safa acting CEO Russell Paul in Johannesburg, March 1 2019. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES
Safa acting CEO Russell Paul in Johannesburg, March 1 2019. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES

The SA Football Association (Safa) are preparing to meet with the government in the next weeks to finalise their bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

SA are one of a record nine countries that have submitted a formal expression of interest to Fifa but now have until mid-April to submit their bidding registration to the world football governing body.

“We have to sit down with [the] government to properly prepare our document and we hope to do that in the next weeks‚” said Safa acting CEO Russell Paul.

“The first act was to just submit an expression of interest and it didn’t come with any detail from Fifa,” said Paul. “But if you don’t have an interest they are not going to tell you what they want from a host country.”

Next step in the process

Safa need the government support before they submit the completed bidding registration document, which is the next step in the process.

“That must be in Zurich by April 16,” Paul said. “After that, Fifa will dispatch hosting documents to the countries that are still interested‚” he said.

“In October‚ our bid book will need to be in‚ along with the signed hosting agreement and all other documents.”

Safa are starting work on the bid book right away.

“We are starting on the basis that if [the] government says yes to request for support with the bid, we’ve already got a head start. But if not‚ then we haven’t really lost anything.”

Paul said Fifa would likely schedule a visit or two to check facilities before they make the final decision on the hosts in March 2020. next year.

That decision is made by the Fifa Council‚ made up of 37 members‚ but in a vote where their individual choices will be made public.

SA’s South Africa’s competitors for the right to host the event are Argentina‚ Australia‚ Bolivia‚ Brazil‚ Colombia‚ Japan‚ New Zealand and South Korea.

But it was a big boost for SA’s South African hopes that the US,A‚ which will host the men’s World Cup in 2026‚ did not bid.

“Fifa have made it clear they don’t want infrastructure expenses around this World Cup,” said Paul. “They don’t want stadiums to be built and all sorts of other costs.

“Even your bid book must be brief‚ printed on double sided paper. They don’t want countries spending money.”

The fact that SA South Africa has a ready-made infrastructure still in place from the 2010 World Cup will be a huge boost in their favour.