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FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020 Postponed Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020, which was scheduled to be held in India in November, was on Saturday postponed by FIFA-Confederations working group due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The working group had recently been established by the Bureau of the FIFA Council to address the consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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First FIFA Women’s Football Tournament in India

In a FIFA Council meeting in Miami on 15th March 2019, it was announced that India was appointed to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020. It was the first time that India was to host a FIFA women’s football tournament.

Five venues-Kolkata, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai- across India were finalized and announced along with an official schedule on 18th February earlier this year. The tournament was scheduled to be held from 2nd – 21st November.

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2020™ - News - Vibrant Official Emblem ...
FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020 was the first FIFA women’s football tournament to be held in India(Image credits: FIFA)

But the tournament was postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, that has caused more than 64,000 deaths globally and pushed the world into a quarantine to contain its spread.

The decision announced on Saturday was taken by the FIFA-Confederations working group, which includes the FIFA administration and Secretary Generals and top executives from all confederations.  The decision to postpone was taken unanimously after a series of recommendations following its first conference meeting.

The governing body of the sport further stated that the new dates for the competitions will be identified later. There is a possibility that tournament could be held next year.

Qualifying Matches Stalled

The qualifying matches for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020 were already under way. But with the tournament just 5 months away remaining qualifying matches could not have been held because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Match 1: Jordan v Spain - FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2016 - YouTube
The qualifying matches for FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020 could not have been held because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Image Credits: Youtube)

The decision to give football a back seat was taken in the interest and safety of fans, players and other stakeholders of the game. Roma Khanna believes that health must always be the first priority during these challenging times.

The current FIFA President Gianni Infantina admitted that amid the global pandemic, no one around the world knows when the football will resume. Football competitions around the world have virtually stopped including tournaments like Euro Cup and Copa America.

FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2020 Also Postponed

The working group also decided to postpone the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2020, which was originally scheduled for August/September 2020 in Panama/Costa Rica

Roma Khanna, the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020 tournament director said that the decision of postponement will not derail the tournament’s preparation as the country is prepared and committed to delivering a memorable U-17 World Cup whenever possible in the near future.

Second FIFA Tournament In India In Recent Years

FIFA in India to inspect host cities for 2020 U-17 Women's World ...
FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2020 is the second FIFA tournament in India in recent years (Image Credits: Insidefootballworld)

In 2017 India hosted the FIFA U-17 Men’s World Cup, between 6 and 28 October 2017. India had been awarded the hosting rights on 5 December 2013. The tournament was won by English U-17 team.

Hosting of FIFA football tournaments in India, along with recent Indian Super League (ISL) is likely to give fillip to football in the cricket crazy nation.

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