South Korea withdraws bid for 2023 Women’s World Cup

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP)South Korea has withdrawn from the bidding to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The Korea Football Association made the announcement hours before Friday’s deadline for candidates to submit completed bid books to soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

The KFA said it initially pushed to jointly host the games with North Korea at the recommendation of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, but strained inter-Korean relations failed to realize a unified bid.

Inter-Korean relations improved greatly last year when North Korea entered talks with the United States over the fate of its nuclear arsenal. But Korean ties have soured since the failed second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam in February.

The KFA said it dropped plans for a sole bid because of new FIFA rules for organizing committees that run counter to South Korean laws.

Discussions with FIFA to try to find a comprise on the regulations failed to reach an agreement, the KFA said, and subsequently the South Korean government could not approve the bid.

South Korea co-hosted the 2002 men’s World Cup with Japan and made an unprecedented run to the semifinals.

Asia is a strong contender to host the 2023 tournament. Japan is in the bidding, and Australia has entered a joint bid with New Zealand.

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