It has been announced that South Africa will not be vying to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup.

This weekend, the South African Football Association (SAFA) stunned the soccer world by announcing it was pulling out of the bidding process to host the tournament.

Four countries competed for the right to host the event, with South Africa being one of them. Among the three surviving bids are one from Brazil, one from Mexico and the US, and a combined effort from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.

What caused the withdrawal is unclear. Reasoning that they wanted to be better prepared for the 2031 edition, the nation pointed to the impending deadline of December 8 for delivering complete tournament blueprints.

What did South Africa say?

A press release issued by the South African Football Association stated:  “South Africa wishes to announce that the country is withdrawing from the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup Bid and is considering bidding for the 2031 tournament when FIFA announces the call for countries to bid for the event.

“The time frame for developing the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup bid has been challenging. This does not diminish our commitment to women’s football, and has instead strengthened our commitment to produce a strong South African women’s team for 2031, and a compelling bid for the same tournament.

“We were very pleased by the support and advice from the Minister and Deputy Minister of Sport, when they encouraged us to work towards preparing a future bid, and in this regard, we felt it was better to regroup and present a well-prepared bid for the 2031 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“The focus is now on making sure that African champions Banyana Banyana have a competitive team for the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

The statement’s reference to a “challenging” time period implies that the South African bid group was fighting to fulfill deadlines set for the bidding process.

What’s next for South Africa?

For the sake of world development, FIFA has requested that nations withdraw bids at various points throughout the years when they preferred alternative bids. Additionally, bids have been withdrawn due to host nations’ inability to secure sufficient funding to organize the event.

Bids for tournaments have relied heavily on government guarantees. The proposal had received support from the South African government, the Business Recorder states.

South Africa and Brazil were considered front-runners among the four proposals initially submitted. Because of this, many will perceive your withdrawal as a missed opportunity.

Following the recent high of Banyana Banyana’s success in the Women’s World Cup, the country’s bid was seen to be heading in the right direction. When it comes to soccer, Banyana Banyana is more well-known than the men’s game both domestically and abroad.

The proposal was gaining greater support against this backdrop after the Springboks’ massively popular victory at the Rugby World Cup in France. South Africa’s bid committee head, Tumi Dlamini, sent their best wishes to the remaining bidders as they withdrew their candidacy for the 2027 Women’s World Cup. Their next step is submitting a proposal for the 2031 finale.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Eibner