BUIZINGEN, Belgium (AP) — To ensure the merriment of millions of children, the government of Belgium is offering a special exemption from the country’s strict coronavirus measures to beloved St. Nicholas, who always delivers bountiful presents on the morning of Dec. 6.
In a tongue-in-cheek letter Thursday, the Belgian health and interior ministers soothed the worries of children fearing they might go without presents this year. The officials said Nicholas wouldn’t have to quarantine after arriving in Belgium from Spain, where he lives, and would be able to walk rooftops to drop gifts into chimneys even during curfew hours.
BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium, Netherlands and Germany have launched a joint bid to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup.
Under the slogan, “Three Nations, One Goal,” the three federations on Monday said they will detail their plans in an official document by the end of the year before starting negotiations with national governments and potential host cities.
A deadline for the bids hasn’t yet been set by FIFA.
“We want the women’s World Cup, the world’s largest women’s sporting event, to take place here in 2027,” Belgian federation chief executive Peter Bossaert said. “In recent years, with the European Championship in the Netherlands in 2017 and the World Cup in France in 2019, we have seen what such an event can bring – great matches, full stadiums, large numbers of TV viewers and visitors from all over the world.”
Two years ago, the Dutch federation had already announced its desire to host the 2027 tournament and the plan received parliamentary backing. The Netherlands hosted the 2017 women’s European championship and Germany organized the continental event twice, in 1989 and 2001. The German federation was also in charge of the 2011 World Cup.
The 2023 tournament will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
A statement released by the three countries’ football associations said they had already expressed their intention to bid to world football’s governing body FIFA and that they would put together a formal agreement by the end of the year.
“Women’s football is traditionally known for its strong sense of community, in which all those involved have an eye for the bigger picture, which is namely developing the sport further, both on and off the field,” the statement said.
“The fact that we are tackling this project together as three football competitors, and also good neighbours, ties in very well with this philosophy.
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“Women’s football in our countries is indeed in differing phases of development, but we share the aspiration to give the sport a boost nationally and globally by organising this World Cup.”
The last Women’s World Cup in 2019 was hosted by France and the 2023 tournament was awarded to Australia and New Zealand in June.
Germany previously hosted the tournament 2011 while the Dutch were hosts, and champions, of the last UEFA Women’s Championship in 2017.
It would be the first time for Belgium to host a major women’s tournament.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Peter Rutherford)