The FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup was scheduled to be staged at five venues in India — Kolkata, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai — from November 2-21, 2020.
A FIFA-Confederations working group unanimously agreed to postpone the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup to be held in India this November due to the worsening situation of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe.
The women’s age group showpiece event was to be held at five venues in the country — Kolkata, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai — from November 2-21, 2020. The tournament would feature 16 teams, with hosts India coming in as automatic qualifiers. It was to be India’s maiden appearance at the U-17 Women’s World Cup.
The FIFA-Confederations working group, which was recently established by the Bureau of the FIFA Council to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, also recommended to the Council to “postpone the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup Panama/Costa Rica 2020 — originally scheduled for August/September 2020.
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“New dates will be identified,” FIFA said in a statement. The working group includes the FIFA administration and Secretary Generals and top executives from all confederations. It unanimously approved a series of recommendations following its first meeting, which was organised via video conference late on April 3.
In addition to postponement of events, the working group also made recommendations for the men’s side of the game — ‘to postpone all international matches due to be played during the upcoming June 2020 window; and to organise bilateral discussions with confederations concerning 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in order to finalise a revised match schedule pending health and safety developments.’
With regard to the women’s game, following the postponement of Euro 2021 as well as the Tokyo Olympics, the group recommended that a sub-working group be formed to consider potential changes in the calendar and schedule dates accordingly, in addition to including the new dates of the Women’s Olympic tournament in it.
While the U-17 women’s tournament is five months away, the reality is that only the Asian qualifying event has been held so far — from which Japan and North Korea have made the cut.
Five remaining qualifying events — that of Africa, Europe, Oceania, South America, and Central, North America and Caribbean — have not been held due to the global health crisis which has affected more than a million people.
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FIFA reiterated that health must always be the first priority and the main criteria in any decision-making process, especially in these “challenging times”. The working group also recommended the creation of a global support fund for the game and asked ‘To appoint one person per confederation to coordinate on this topic together with FIFA, with the working group being kept informed of developments.’
India has reported the highest number of coronavirus patients in the last 24 hours, with 601 fresh cases taking the tally of infections to 2902. There have been 68 confirmed deaths.
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