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Last Updated: Monday, 26 May, 2003, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Women's World Cup moved to US
A tourist in Shanghai takes protections against the Sars virus
China has been badly hit by the Sars outbreak
The 2003 women's World Cup has been re-located from China to the United States on medical advice, world governing body Fifa said on Monday.

America was preferred to five other countries which offered to step in to host the event, after the tournament was moved from China because of the Sars virus.

The World Cup is expected to take place around its original period of 23 September to 11 October, but the exact match schedule will be announced at a later date.

Fifa's Sports Medical Committee consulted experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and specialists from universities in Europe, who advised against holding the event in China.

Sars has now claimed more than 300 lives in the country.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said the success of the tournament when it was last held in the United States four years ago had influenced the decision.

"The Women's World Cup in 1999 was so successful that Fifa is delighted to see the event return to the United States," said Blatter in a statement.

"I would like to reiterate my gratitude to the Chinese Football Association for their understanding and co-operation with Fifa following the Executive Committee's decision on 3 May."

China will retain its automatic qualification slot for the tournament, and it has also been awarded the right to stage the event in 2007.

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