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The most important championship in international football competition for women is the Women's World Cup. Organised by FIFA - the sport's largest governing body - its first tournament was held in 1991, sixty-one years after the first one for men.
Although established not long ago, the Women's World Cup is growing in popularity. Its first championship was hosted in China with 12 teams sent to represent their countries. Eight years later, over 650,000 spectators attended the finals, and nearly a billion viewers from 70 countries watched them on TV. And by the fourth tournament in 2003, the number of finalists had increased to 16. As FIFA estimates, the current 40 million girls and women playing football around the world will equal the number of men by 2010.
The FIFA Women's World Cup 2007 was decided to be held in China. Originally, China was to host the 2003 Women's World Cup, but due to the outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in that country, the event was moved to the United States. Having hosted the 1999 version of the World Cup, it was thought to be the only nation that could organise the tournament in such a short time.