The prospect of the United States hosting World Cups in back-to-back summers could become reality after the US and Mexico declared their intention to submit a bid to jointly host the women’s tournament in 2027.
It would follow 2026’s men’s World Cup, which is being co-hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico, and it would be the third time that the US has staged the women’s event, after hosting the tournament in 1999 and 2003.
The 2027 event would be the second Women’s World Cup to include 32 teams, following this summer’s upcoming tournament in Australia and New Zealand. Just 24 teams took part in the most recent tournament in France in 2019.
“The United States has always been a global leader for the women’s game, and we would be honoured to co-host the world’s premier event for women’s soccer along with Mexico,” Cindy Parlow Cone, the US Soccer president and former US international, said in a statement, as excitement grows among US fans about the possibility of hosting an event that would be watched by more than two billion viewers globally. But how strong are the US and Mexico’s chances?
Who else is in the running?
Brazil, the nation with the most men’s World Cup triumphs – five – have also declared that they will be bidding, and their bid has been publicly endorsed by Lula, the president of Brazil.
South Africa, where the 2010 men’s tournament was hosted, are also officially in the running, hoping to see the continent of Africa stage the women’s event for the first time.
There has also reportedly been interest from Chile, Italy and a potential joint Scandinavian bid from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden - who missed out on Women’s Euro 2025 this month – together with Iceland, but as of April 20, they are all yet to formally announce their interest.
What are the pros and cons of the US-Mexico bid?
The infrastructure, stadiums and logistics should all be in place and ready to go very early, after the 2026 men’s tournament, and that should serve as a strong advantage for this joint US-Mexico bid.
Additionally, Mexico’s top women’s league, the Liga MX Femenil, has been rapidly on the rise in recent years, with fast-growing attendances and new commercial deals, and Fifa could see that emerging market as a region where it can try to further grow the women’s game and leave a legacy. The US, meanwhile, has long been a heartland for the women’s game, pioneering elite-level competition and winning a record four World Cups to date, and can boast huge numbers of supporters.
However, the downside of this bid could be the environmental factors, with large travelling distances between host venues inevitable when any tournament is being staged over such a vast area. That might give an edge to the rival bid from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, where fans would be able to travel between host cities by train.
In terms of block voting, an ongoing understanding between the European and South American governing bodies means that there is a reasonable chance that they will unify behind either the Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands bid or the Brazilian bid and jointly back one or the other, prior to the final stage of the process.
Where has the tournament been staged previously?
In the eight previous editions of the Women’s World Cup prior to 2023’s forthcoming event Down Under, only six different countries have hosted the tournament, and it has never been hosted in South America, Central America or Africa.
China were the first official hosts in 1991 - although the event was called the “First Fifa World Championship for women’s football for the M&Ms Cup”, sponsored by Mars, while the world’s governing body was still hesitant about using the “World Cup” brand for the women’s game. China hosted the event for a second time 16 years later.
1999: United States
2003: United States
2023: Australia and New Zealand
When will a decision be made?
Fifa announced on March 23 that member associations had until a deadline of April 21 to formally express their interest in staging the 2027 tournament, and the US and Mexico met that deadline with their announcement on April 19.
Each bid must then be officially submitted by December 8, after a bid workshop with Fifa takes place in August. Fifa will then inspect potential host sites in February next year.
The final decision on who will host the tournament is expected to be made on May 17 2024, after a vote at the Fifa Congress.
That will leave just over three years for the successful bidders to prepare to host the event, in the summer of 2027.
This August, bids will be welcomed to observe during the 2023 Women’s World Cup ahead of the December submission deadline.