June 21, 2020 / 3:23 AM / 25 days ago

FIFA stands by evaluation of Colombia 2023 women's World Cup bid

FILE PHOTO: The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

BERN (Reuters) - FIFA is standing by its technical evaluation of Colombia’s bid to host the 2023 women’s World Cup, telling the country’s unhappy football chief that the assessment was conducted in a “highly objective” manner.

Colombian Football Federation president Ramon Jesurun wrote to FIFA last week, along with South American Football Confederation president Alejandro Dominguez, to complain of “erroneous and discriminatory conclusions” in its report on the bid.

The Colombian proposal to bring the tournament to South America for the first time received the lowest score among FIFA’s evaluation of the three bids to host the tournament.

The joint bid from Australia and New Zealand was rated 4.1 out of five in the report, Japan was awarded 3.9 but Colombia scored only 2.8 ahead of next Thursday’s vote.

In a four-page letter seen by Reuters, FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura replied that “all steps were taken to conduct the evaluation in a highly objective manner.”

“I am confident that the evaluation process that FIFA has conducted has adhered to the key principles of objectivity, vision, transparency, commitment to human rights and sustainability,” said the letter which was copied to members of the FIFA Council.

In response to a claim that FIFA’s evaluation had cast doubt over the security situation in Colombia, Samoura recognised that there had been improvements but said that “all sources reviewed by experts indicated an elevated level of risk” compared to other bids.

In terms of health and medical facilities, she said that “a medium level of risk was deemed appropriate” and that serious conditions may require international evacuation. She said the altitude of Bogota — 2,644 metres — was among the factors taken into account

From a commercial point of view, Samoura said the forecast revenues from a tournament in Colombia were “modest” and the projected ticketing revenue of$ 22.4 million was significantly lower than the previous tournament in France in 2019.

Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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