KEIR RADNEDGE in SAO PAULO: South Africa, under pressure over its inadequate handling of a matchfixing inquiry, has quit as host of FIFA’s U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2016 – only seven months after being awarded it.
Confirmation that the world federation must find a new host emerged from its executive committee meeting in Sao Paulo.
South Africa was awarded the tournament last December and the withdrawal can only be a further embarrassment for the country in its blundering attempt to build on the legacy of the 2010 World Cup finals.
Football administration in the Republic has come under increasing scrutiny with further revelations of the manner in which pre-2010 warm-up matches were rigged by matchfixers acting for Singapore-based betting rings.
FIFA’s attempt to launch an inquiry was obstructed by Ministers in President Jacob Zuma’s government. Early this year FIFA’s own inquiry was relaunched by independent ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia.
As for the U-20 event, a FIFA statement said: “Following South Africa’s withdrawal from hosting the event, the executive will appoint a new host at its next meeting in September.”
Other exco issues
* Reaffirmation of full support to and trust in Brazil to organise “a great FIFA World Cup”;
* Recommendation to Congress of 10 key development principles proposed by the Task Force for Women’s Football;
* Inclusion in Congress of an activities report from Michael Garcia, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee;
* Continuation of close monitoring of labour rights changes proposed by Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup (a FIFA delegation will visit Qatar later this year);
* No comment on allegations of unethical behaviour related to the host vote for the 2022 World Cup while an ethics investigatiin is under way;
* Note of further meetings ahead of Congress regarding the situation in Israel and Palestine;
* Approval of award of media rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in the UK to BBC/ITV and in Germany, for 2022, to ARD/ZDF;
* Approval of a finance committee donation of $2m to help the football associations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Romania and Serbia rebuild football infrastructure damaged by the recent floods;
* Mexico to replace Canada among competitors at the Youth Olympic football tournaments later this year in Nanjing;
* Next exco meeting in Zurich on September 25 and 26.