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Colombian FA accuses FIFA of bias for raising security fears

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Colombian Football Federation is seen in Bogota, Colombia March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez/File Photo

BOGOTA (Reuters) - The FIFA evaluation report which highlighted that security could be an issue if Colombia hosted the 2023 women’s World Cup were based on a preconceived bias rather than reality, the head of the Colombian Football Federation told Reuters on Monday.

The Colombian proposal to become the first South American country to stage the tournament received the lowest score in reports prepared by FIFA’s evaluation team of the three bids.

A joint bid from Australia and New Zealand was rated 4.1 out of five in the report, Japan was awarded 3.9 but Colombia scored only 2.8 ahead of next Thursday’s vote. Japan withdrew from the process on Monday and threw their support behind the Australia/New Zealand bid.

“Today, fortunately, we believe we’ve got over this problem and the peace process is being implemented very well,” Colombia’s football chief Ramon Jesurun told Reuters.

“Those who know Colombia and have come to Colombia have been really surprised by what is reflected in this report.

“In the last few hours we have told FIFA that this was not right and that I think there is a bit of bias in these comments. But I repeat, Colombia is absolutely and totally prepared for this.”

Jesurun said Colombia had sporting, health and tourism infrastructure ready in eight or nine cities, although he acknowledged that improvements would be made if they won the bid.

Writing by Andrew Downie in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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