Japan has actually withdrawn its bid to host soccer’s 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, leaving Australia and New Zealand as the overwhelming favourites to stage the competition.

Fifa’s council will pick the host nation on 25 June, but Japan has now requested its bid to be removed from consideration, meaning the vote will be in between the joint Australia-New Zealand quote and Colombia.

Brazil pulled out of the process previously this month.

Tashima Kohzo, the chair of Japan’s bid committee, and president of the Japan Football Association, said in a statement today: “The decision to withdraw from the bid was taken after mindful and comprehensive consideration in the Japan Bid Committee, as well as the JFA Executive Committee.”

In terms of an explanatation for the quote being withdrawn, he said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has actually hit the world and also the entire football household hard.

Japan will cooperate with Fifa and the host nation to make sure women’s football on the planet continues to advance, broaden and ascend to a higher level.”

Australia-New Zealand has been the favourite throughout the process and that position was enhanced earlier this month when it was the leading ranked bid in Fifa’s evaluation process, with Japan second and Colombia a distant third.

Japan, which won the tournament as just recently as 2011, scored 3.9 out of 5 in the technical ranking in Fifa’s report, with Australia-New Zealand scoring 4.1 and Colombia scoring 2.8.

None of these countries have hosted the event previously, although Japan did co-host the males’s occasion in 2002, together with South Korea.

The joint Oceanic quote was explained as “the most commercially beneficial proposal”, and the Fifa report mentioned a tournament there as having strong broadcasting appeal, due to the fact that of “strong conditions in Australia and New Zealand for generating global marketing incomes.”

Japan was applauded for its “great, well-kept and professionally-managed stadiums”, and was “strong from a business viewpoint, improved by robust local and international marketing conditions.”

Last year, the country successfully hosted the Rugby World Cup for the very first time. With the Olympics in Tokyo next year, it is possible that the logistics of hosting another prominent worldwide event 2 years after that would simply not have actually been possible, particularly provided the result the coronavirus pandemic (which is still active in the country), is likely to have on Japan’s economy.

Last week, authorities from the FCF, the Colombian soccer federation, and Conmebol, the South American governing body, grumbled to Fifa about the evaluation report.

A letter to Fifa from Alejandro Dominguez, Conmebol’s president, and Ramon Jesurun, head of the CFC, implicated the report of “drawing incorrect and inequitable conclusions”, around a number of elements “of important importance for the rating of our candidateship.”

The letter disagreed with the report’s conclusions around medical services, doping, the bid’s industrial potential customers, and references to terrorism included in the examination.

The report likewise put the risk factor in regards to the industrial success of a Colombian Women’s World Cup as high, and stated it bore in mind of “the low incomes predicted by the bidder.”

The 2023 World Cup will be the very first to include 32 teams, as part of Fifa’s Women’s Football Strategy, up from 24 at the 2019 competition in France, which was won by U.S.A..