San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica pulls out of hosting U17 Women’s Soccer World Cup

The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) is looking for a new country to stage the Under-17 Women’s World Cup next year because the stadiums in Costa Rica would not be ready in time.

FIFA on Thursday said the decision was agreed to by the Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUT) “due to a number of unforeseen circumstances leading to heavy stadium construction delays.”

FEDEFUT President Eduardo Li blamed the government for the problems, citing delays in the delivery of funds that the government had offered to build the stadiums. But Sports Minister William Corrales rejected the accusations by saying the government could not allocate the funds because FEDEFUT has a ₡87 million ($174,000) tax debt.

Costa Rica won hosting rights in March 2011 ahead of Ghana, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

The Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels estimated that during the one-month competition 16 football teams would have spent some $10 million in lodging alone. That figure does not include expenses for food and for the people accompaning the players, plus all the losses from tourists who will no longer visit the areas where the matches will be hold (Liberia, Jacó, Alajuela and San José).

The 16-nation tournament was set to be held in March 2014, and now is likely to be rescheduled for September.

FIFA says it will evaluate potential hosts before reaching a final decision by its executive committee at a March 20-21 meeting in Zurich.

Contact L. Arias at

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