World football's governing body, FIFA, says this year's Women's World Cup tournament will be moved from China because of the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus. The fourth edition of the Women's World Cup was to be staged in and around Shanghai from September 23 to October 11. China was granted the 2007 Cup instead.

FIFA made the decision based on advice from the World Health Organization, the FIFA medical committee and a special advisor from the University of Zurich.

FIFA said the United States and Australia have shown interest in staging this year's competition. Australia may not be able to hold the event because of an overlap with stadium use for the Rugby World Cup.

The FIFA administration will be clarifying the situation over the next few weeks, especially with regard to the timing of the championship.

Sixteen teams are due to take part in the Women's World Cup, but the draw to set the groups for the finals has been postponed. Africa will be represented by two teams at the premier women's tournament -- "The Black Queens" of Ghana and "The Super Falcons" of Nigeria, the reigning African champions.