Women's World Cup brought forward to 2002

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The Independent Online

FIFA, trying to raise the profile of the women's game, has decided to bring forward the next women's World Cup by one year to 2002, the same year of the upcoming men's World Cup, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Tuesday.

FIFA, trying to raise the profile of the women's game, has decided to bring forward the next women's World Cup by one year to 2002, the same year of the upcoming men's World Cup, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Tuesday.

"We want to give more exposure to women's football," Blatter said.

The next women's World Cup had been scheduled for 2003. The United States won this summer's championship at home.

The host nation for the 2002 women's World Cup will be chosen later, but Blatter said Australia was a leading candidate.

The men's tournament will be co-hosted by Japan and South Korea.

The new schedule will also allow women to have a qualifying tournament for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

The Athens tournament will have 12 women's teams, four more than next year's Olympics in Sydney.

Until now, the top seven finishers in the World Cup plus the host nation qualified for the Olympic tournament.

Starting in 2002, the women's World Cup will be played in the same year as the men's.

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