(Reuters) – Colombia’s soccer chief and the head of South American football confederation CONMEBOL have written to FIFA complaining of “erroneous and discriminatory conclusions” in the assessment of the country’s bid to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
The Colombian proposal to bring the tournament to South America for the first time received the lowest score in an evaluation of three bids to host the tournament carried out by world soccer’s governing body ahead of next Friday’s vote.
The joint bid from Australia and New Zealand was rated 4.1 out of five in the report, Japan was adjudged worthy of a 3.9 score but Colombia only 2.8.
A letter to the members of FIFA’s ruling council signed by CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez and Ramon Jesurun, who heads up the Colombian Football Federation (CFC), said the report lacked credible sources to support its conclusions.
“In the document, FIFA’s administration draws some erroneous and discriminatory conclusions on three aspects of vital importance for the score of our candidacy,” read the letter.
As well as complaints about the accuracy of entries about medical services, doping and commercial aspects of the bid, the letter objected to two references to terrorism.
“The ‘terrorism’ alluded to with regrettable lightness by the technical report has not existed for a long time,” it read.
“Colombia today, lives in a time of stability and social peace, fruits of the efforts and maturity of its people.
“It denotes ignorance in relation to Colombia’s situation, and a lack of interest in carrying out, at least, minimal research of the situation in which this country finds itself currently.”
Another “affirmation” the letter deemed “offensive” was that patients with serious conditions would have to be evacuated to other countries because emergency services in Colombian hospitals do not conform with international sanitary standards.
“The best hospitals in Bogota, Medellin and Cali are among the most advanced in South America, according to the prestigious ranking of America Economia,” read the letter.
“Moreover, they are recognized for receiving serious cases from abroad.”
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the points raised in the letter.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney and Paulina Duran, editing by Richard Pullin)