The Fifa Under-17 Women’s World Cup to be held in India in November was on Saturday postponed by football’s governing body due to the worsening Covid-19 pandemic across the globe.
The women’s age group showpiece was to be held at five venues in the country — Calcutta, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai — from November 2-21.
The tournament was to be competed among 16 teams, with hosts India being automatic qualifiers. It was to be India’s maiden appearance in the U-17 Women’s World Cup.
The decision was taken by the Fifa-Confederations working group, which was recently established by the Bureau of the Fifa Council to address the consequences of the pandemic.
The working group recommended the Bureau of Fifa Council to “postpone the Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup Panama/ Costa Rica 2020 — originally scheduled for August/ September 2020 — and the Fifa Under-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020 — originally scheduled for November 2020.”
“New dates will be identified,” Fifa said in a statement.
It was also decided “to create a sub-working group on the women’s international match calendar to consider potential changes to the calendar and dates of postponed Fifa final tournaments”.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) said the postponement was on expected lines. “Just like other sports events which were postponed due to this dreaded disease, it (postponement of U-17 World Cup) was to happen. We have to accept the decision,” general secretary Kushal Das said.
“The qualifying events in Europe and Africa and other confederations are yet to be held and so the decision was on expected lines.” He said the tournament will most likely be held next year.
The working group of the world body 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 conference late on Friday.