Belgium is not looking to be a candidate to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup, despite rumours otherwise, according to Stefan Van Loock, spokesman for the Belgian Football Union.
He was speaking to Belga in response to a statement from FIFA announcing that Belgium was the 10th country interested in organising the event.
“What is correct is that we have asked for information on the specifications, application criteria and needs necessary for such an organisation, but for information purposes and certainly not for the 2023 edition,” the Belgian Union commented. “If we had to apply, it would be for a later edition, but this is far too early.
The World Cup format will be extended from 24 to 32 teams, further complicating the modalities of organising such an event. The host country for 2023 will be designated in May 2020.
At the end of July, FIFA announced that in response to the “resounding” success of the 2019 World Cup in France – and to “promote the growth of women’s football” – it had decided to increase the World Cup format from 24 to 32 teams for 2023.
Nine countries had expressed interest in hosting the competition before the change of format, namely Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and South Korea (possibly with North Korea). Interested countries have until 2 September to confirm their interest and until 13 December to submit their application.