FIFA Cancels U-17 Women’s World Cup

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World football governing body FIFA announced the cancellation of its women’s youth tournaments for 2020, awarding the hosting rights of the 2022 editions to those nations. It means India will now host the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and Costa Rica the 2022 U-20 Women’s World Cup.

“As a result and after careful consideration of the feedback received by the stakeholders combined with the inability to further postpone these tournaments, the FIFA-Confederations COVID-19 Working Group subsequently recommended that the 2020 editions of the two women’s youth tournaments be cancelled and that the hosting rights for the 2022 editions be offered to the countries that were due to host the 2020 editions,” FIFA said in a press release on Tuesday.

The statement said, “In light of this, and following further consultation between FIFA and the respective host member associations regarding the 2022 editions of the tournaments, the Bureau of the Council has approved Costa Rica as host of the U-20 Women’s World Cup 2022 and India as host of the U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 respectively.”

According to a report of the Hindustan Times, the decision deals a blow to the Indian team that had been prepared as they won’t meet the age eligibility for the 2022 edition. The tournament, initially scheduled to be held this month, was moved to early next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The rescheduled dates of February 17-March 7 would have allowed the current set of players to participate as FIFA had relaxed the age criterion while postponing the edition.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel said the local organizing committee is ready to start afresh for hosting the 2022 edition. “Following discussions with FIFA, we agreed that hosting the tournament without proper qualifications and without spectators led to more uncertainty, and it would have taken away from our objective of developing and promoting women’s football by hosting the competition in such circumstances. We now have a unique opportunity to start afresh and still have a considerable head start from the work that has been already put in,” he said in a press release.

“It is a difficult decision but the right one in the current circumstances. We’re now looking forward to hosting the tournament in 2022,” tournament director Roma Khanna said.

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