Wednesday 10 June 2020 13:38, UK
Australia and New Zealand's joint bid to host the 2023 Women's World Cup has scored highest in FIFA's evaluation of three host candidates ahead of an online vote on June 25.
FIFA said Australia and New Zealand's bid scored 4.1 points from a maximum five in evaluating its project plan for the first 32-team women's tournament.
Japan scored 3.9 and Colombia trailed with 2.8, though they still qualify for consideration by FIFA's council. Each of the 37-member panel's votes will be made public.
FIFA rated the Australia-New Zealand bid the most commercially favourable.
It also offered a rare example of unity and co-operation across continental bodies. Australia is an Asian Football Confederation member and New Zealand is from the Oceania group. The complexity of cross-border working was also noted.
Japan's experience hosting big events was praised, though it prefers to host in the cooler weather of June-July instead of FIFA's preferred July-August dates.
Colombia met FIFA's minimum requirements but the plan is said to need significant amount of investment and support with just three years to prepare.
Brazil withdrew its bid to host the tournament on Tuesday, citing financial fears in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.