FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup postponement a “possibility”, decision expected by end of September

FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup which is being hosted for the first time by India can be postponed for the second time as the qualifiers are yet to be conducted in most of the confederations. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, completing the qualifiers in time looks uncertain. The decision on the matter is expected to be taken by the end of September.

Originally scheduled for November, 2020, it was postponed to February and March, 2021, due to the pandemic. However, with just about four months remaining for the tournament, even these dates now seems doubtful. Notably, a lot of uncertainties still remain unresolved including the 16 countries who would participate in the tournament.

“The health and safety of all those involved in the planning and preparation for Fifa U-17 Women’s World Cup is a top priority. With this in mind, Fifa, together with the local organising committee and other key stakeholders in India, is continuing to closely monitor the situation around the tournament, as well as any potential impact on preparations for next year’s Fifa U-17 Women’s World Cup,” an official close to the development on condition of anonymity told InsideSport.

Meanwhile, Europe and Oceania both cancelled their qualifiers and instead opted to ‘nominate’ teams. While UEFA chose Spain, England and Germany based on their rankings, Oceania selected New Zealand to represent them at the tournament. CAF (Africa), CONCACAF (North and Central America) and CONMEBOL (South America) are yet to hold the qualifiers.

“Regarding qualifying competitions for the tournament, Fifa is in close contact with confederations on this matter. Further updates will be communicated in due course,” the official added.

As of now, only AFC (Asia) have conducted the qualifiers as scheduled. Japan and DPR Korea have booked their places in the final round who had finished champions and runners-up respectively in the 2019 AFC U16 Women’s Championship.

FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup happens to be India’s second-ever FIFA tournament as a host after the country hosted the U-17 World Cup in 2017 and it was the most attended men’s age-group tournament. With 66,684 spectators turning up to watch the summit clash between England and Spain at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, the total attendance at the six venues was counted at 13.4 lakh, which was 1.1 lakh more than the earlier record.