2027 Women's World Cup: the moment of truth this Friday morning for Belgium, candidate for the organization of the 2027 Women's World Cup

All eyes at the Belgian Union are now turned towards Asia because it is in Thailand that Fifa is holding its 74th Congress this week, a gathering which has put the nomination of the host country(s) to the agenda Friday.

Two final applications

The big world football meeting begins around 9 a.m. on site this Friday and Belgium will be especially concerned and interested in point no. 11 on the agenda.

Proximity to stadiums, Brazilian rival, boost for women's football: Belgium launches its campaign to organize the 2027 World Cup

As a reminder, Belgium, with the German and Dutch delegations, submitted its bidbook (application file) last December with the leitmotif “a sustainable, compact, commercially attractive World Cup with a unique fan experience.”

”The collaboration of the three countries is a considerable asset with a view to hosting this competitionentrusts Aline Zeler, Fifa Legends, on the Fifa website and present on site. In 2017, during Belgium's first Euro, in the Netherlands, everything was organized “Dutch” style: no flaws, everything was perfect. So if it is organized by three countries who want to continue to grow and contribute to the development of the discipline, it can work. The file is complete, the stadiums are perfect and on the economic and tourist levels, the prospects are promising. There is a lot of infrastructure and the population would be delighted to host this competition.”

The European candidacy faces only one competitor: Brazil, land of Marta the legend of women's football. Initially, two other files should have been submitted but South Africa and the Mexico/USA duo withdrew successively to concentrate on the 2031 edition.

Recently, in a 182-page report, Fifa rated less well the Belgian file compared to the Brazilian. This received a score of 4/5, the Europeans having obtained 3.7. The different aspects of the two applications were analyzed, including infrastructure (stadiums and accommodation), marketing, sustainability, human rights and legal issues. According to the jury, both applications meet the minimum criteria for organizing a tournament.

Concerning the European trio, investigators pointed out “points out the “high risk” of the BNG application on certain legal issues. Fifa is particularly concerned by certain provisions included in the legal framework for the organization of the World Cup, in particular the agreements relating to stadiums and host cities.

The great asset of the European file? Sustainability and proximity

Faced with the South American candidacy, Europe does not lack assets and the Fifa report only serves as support for the 210 voting federations.

First, being the only European candidacy, it should receive the fifty votes coming from the Old Continents.

Then, the experience is clearly present. Germany (world champion in 2003 and 2007) already organized the event in 2011. Of course, it was already thirteen years ago and in a different format from the current one (four groups compared to eight in 2023) but BNG 2027 can also rely on the men's Euro which will be held in a few months in our neighbors and on the success of the women's Euro 2017 in the Netherlands. Furthermore, Germany and the Netherlands remain two strong nations globally.

TUBIZE, BELGIUM - MARCH 29: Katrien Jans during Women's Football Strategy presentation with the collaboration of the RBFA, the Pro League, Voetbal Vlaanderen and the ACFF on March 29, 2024 in TUBIZE, BELGIUM, 03/29/2024 ( Photo by Sebastien Smets / Photonews
The Federation, with the Pro League, notably presented an ambitious new plan for women's football. ©SES

In terms of infrastructure and stadiums, almost everything already exists. The geographical concentration should encourage travel both for delegations and for supporters or tourists wishing to discover Europe as a whole (Vienna, Paris or London are never very far away). These criteria of proximity (300 km maximum between two stadiums) and sustainability are the strong points of the file.

On the other hand, the fact that the World Cup came in 2019 in Europe, in France, can be a disadvantage even if, for retransmission and broadcasting rights, Europe provides many more guarantees.

Believe&Achieve: the new development plan for women’s football in Belgium

Where will it be played in Belgium?

As a reminder, in the event of a victory this Friday, the 2027 World Cup will be played in four German stadiums (theoretically Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Cologne), three in the Netherlands (Heerenveen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Enschede or Eindhoven) and three in Belgium (Ghent, Genk, Anderlecht and Charleroi are candidates and they will be designated by the FIFA). The “smallness” of Belgian stadiums means that matches in Belgium will only go as far as the quarters and the match for third place. “Small” stadiums which will also make it easier to fill the stands.

If awarded the organization of the 2027 World Cup, the event could be a huge boost for women's football in Belgium. Belgian leaders often take the example of England elsewhere where Euro 2022 was a real success on which the clubs surfed to make England “The Place To Be” currently.

Two and a half months after the presentation of the new ambitious plan for women's football in Belgium (Believe&Achieve), the RBFA hopes for a further step forward because Belgium (eighteenth in the Fifa ranking) has never qualified for the Women's World Cup. She, on the other hand, took part in Euro 2017 and 2022 and is still in the running for qualification for Euro 2025 which will be played in Switzerland.

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