FIFA Women's World Cup 2003
The 2003 competition was originally scheduled to take place in China in September/October 2003. In November 2002 there was an outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus in Guangdong Province which, by April 2003, had spread to neighbouring provinces and countries in south-east Asia. Under these circumstance holding an international tournament in the affected area risked creating a global epidemic so on 3 May 2003 FIFA announced that the tournament would be moved to an alternate country. Three weeks later it was announced that the United States would host the competition since there was plentiful infrastructure in place and the recent experience of organising the 1999 World Cup would help with making arrangements in the limited time available.
China retained their automatic place as hosts and were promised that the 2007 tournament would be held in their country. The USA had already qualified so there would be no problem over their participation.
A creative approach had to be taken to scheduling as most suitable venues were already booked. This involved playing a lot of double-headers including some of the final round of group matches, the quarter- and semi-finals. Of the cities that had hosted games in the previous World Cup only Foxborough featured this time. The other venues were in Philadelhia, Washington DC and Columbus in the east, Carson and Portland in the west.
Qualification was once again though each confederation's championship apart from UEFA, where a dedicated qualifying competition was organised.
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