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Brazil to host FIFA Women’s World Cup nearly 50 years after repealing ban on women’s sports

President of the Football Associated of Brazil Ednaldo Rodrigues delivers his speech after Brazil was chosen to host the 2027 Women's World Cup soccer at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 17, 2024.
President of the Football Associated of Brazil Ednaldo Rodrigues delivers his speech after Brazil was chosen to host the 2027 Women's World Cup soccer at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 17, 2024. | Sakchai Lalit

Brazil will host the 2027 Women’s World Cup, FIFA announced Friday.

This will be the first Women’s World Cup hosted in South America, but it will be Brazil’s third time hosting a World Cup. It hosted the men’s tournament in 2014 and 1950.

“In Brazil, there are still many issues for women playing football so this will have a direct impact on footballers coming through, the number of footballers, the incentives that parents can give their children to play football,” Brazil legend Rosana said, per FIFA. “It’ll have a tremendous impact and I hope that it’ll really allow girls to dream of becoming professional footballers, just as boys can dream. It’s a huge achievement and a foundation so that all women can aspire to be what they want to be.”

Why was Brazil chosen to host the 2027 FIFA World Cup?

The FIFA Congress had to decide between Brazil and a joint bid from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. It ultimately chose Brazil on Friday.

FIFA’s bid evaluation report released earlier this month found that both bids met the minimum requirements — though Brazil received the higher evaluation score — and could be brought before the 211 members of the congress to vote on the host, according to ESPN.

Venue capacity may have tipped the scales in Brazil’s favor. Brazil’s bid “offers good stadiums that are purpose-built and generally configured for the largest international football tournaments,” per the evaluation report.

The stadiums included in the bid from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany “have relatively smaller capacities, which would mean that they would need to be at high occupancy if they were to eclipse the attendance records set for the 2023 edition of the tournament,” the report said.

The 2023 World Cup was the most-attended Women’s World Cup, with 1.98 million fans attending matches, according to Just Women’s Sports.

Two other bids were previously in contention before their withdrawal.

The U.S. and Mexico withdrew their joint bid three weeks ago and will instead focus on their bid to host the 2031 World Cup, as the Deseret News previously reported. South Africa withdrew its bid in November and also intends to throw its hat in the ring for the 2031 tournament.

Why did Brazil ban women from playing sports?

In 1941, Getulio Vargas, Brazil’s president at the time, passed a law that made it illegal for women to participate in organized sports that were “incompatible with the conditions of their nature,” according to The Economic Times.

“We have ex-footballers who were arrested because they were playing football and those footballers were the ones who, with grit and determination, overcame those bans and earned their freedom, so that today myself and so many other girls have the freedom to play football without those bans,” Brazilian legend Formiga said, per FIFA.

It took nearly four decades for the law to be repealed in 1979. The Brazilian men’s national team had won three World Cups during the ban. The women’s national team has yet to win the World Cup but has finished second in 2007 and third in 1999, according to Olympics.com.

“I feel like this is a reward: having the opportunity to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup, every one of them has a part in the making of this,” Formiga said. “Because I didn’t suffer half of what they suffered. So today is the result of what they all did for women’s football, not only in Brazil but around the world.”