England football boss rejected Jacinda Ardern's phone call ahead of World Cup bid

UEFA has defended its decision to snub the trans-Tasman Women's World Cup bid and block vote for Colombia despite an inferior evaluation report.

Jacinda Ardern fronts the media. Source:

Australia and New Zealand scored 4.1 out of five on the report with Colombia totalling 2.9.

The joint bid bettered the South Americans in every criteria - stadiums, team and referee facilities, accommodation, International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and competition-related event sites and commercial.

Japan's withdrawal from the bidding process earlier this week saw the Asian Football Confederation unite and back the Australian-New Zealand submission at the FIFA Council meeting along with the Oceania representatives.

That was expected to secure a comfortable passage for the joint bid but the waters were muddied somewhat after it emerged the Europeans were surprisingly siding with Colombia.

It led to some nervous moments before the decision was announced early this morning when it was reported by the Guardian that English Football Association chairman Greg Clarke had refused to take a phone call from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

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However, with FIFA chairman Gianni Infantino and the CAF (Africa) and CONCACAF (North America) delegates voting in favour of Australia and New Zealand, a 22-13 winning margin was secured.

UEFA said in a statement their vote for Colombia was an attempt to try to increase the growth of the women's game in South America.

"Even though the Colombian bid was not the one rated highest technically by FIFA, European members of the FIFA Council felt that it represented a strategic opportunity for the development of women's football in South America thanks to the legacy and increase of attention for the women's game that the tournament would bring to the continent.

"It was a choice between two countries - Australia and New Zealand - where women's football is already strongly established, and a continent where it still has to be firmly implanted and has a huge development potential.

"It's important to add that European members of the FIFA Council agreed to vote together on major issues as a matter of solidarity."