Brazil: Interest in hosting women's World Cup

The Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Brazil expressed interest in hosting the women's World Cup as early as 2019.

Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said he's talked with FIFA President Sepp Blatter about the idea.

''I think other countries are interested in holding the event,'' Rebelo said. ''We'll have to look at the calendar. If we don't get it for 2019, then we'll have to look at another year (2023).''

That would make for a crowded calendar because Brazil is also scheduled to hold the Copa America in 2019 - the men's continental championship.

Brazil is preparing for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Both projects are struggling to stay on schedule and are facing public scrutiny about the billions being spent on sports events, particularly in a country with poor public services, high taxes and stark economic inequality.

Brazil is spending about $13.3 billion of largely public money on the World Cup. Olympic organizers have yet to announced their budgets, but public spending could be similar to that of the World Cup - or higher.

Canada will hold the 2015 women's World Cup. Rebelo spoke at the launch of a new Brazilian women's soccer league on Monday.

Women's soccer matches were well attended during the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio. Although women's soccer in Brazil is less popular than the men's game, the country is home to Marta Vieira da Silva - known simply as ''Marta'' - the top female player.

She's earned FIFA Player of the Year award for five consecutive years through 2011.