FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020 has been postponed to 2021 due to coronavirus pandemic and will be held in the February-March window, FIFA announced in their media release.
The Bureau of FIFA Council, in consideration of the recommendations of the FIFA-Confederations Covid-19 Working Group, made the decision to hold the U-17 Women’s World Cup in India from February 17-March 7, 2021.
The release also stated that the eligibility criteria will remain the same despite the changes in the date and hence, players born on or after 1 January 2003 and on or before 31 December 2005 will only be eligible to participate in the tournament.
It is yet to be announced whether the tournament will hold its original name like Euro 2020 or the new year will be attached to the name of the tournament.
“We are now looking ahead and hoping to host a wonderful tournament that will give women’s football in India, the perfect platform to grow and develop,” the Local Organising Committee (LOC) statement said.
“All the host cities have put in a lot of effort and commitment so far, and we are happy that the new dates will allow them to make up for the lost time and provide momentum going forward.
“All the stakeholders, including the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, have been supportive of the decision keeping in mind the health, safety and security of everyone involved, especially the teams and fans. The LOC will continue to work together with FIFA, and we remain fully committed to hosting a memorable and successful tournament,” the statement added.
Before the tournament was postponed, the only qualifying event that could be held was for Asia from which Japan and North Korea made the cut.
Five remaining qualifying events — that of Africa, Europe, Oceania, South America, and Central, North America and Caribbean — saw a halt due to the ongoing global health crisis, which has affected millions worldwide.
Reacting to the development, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju assured full cooperation and support to the tournament.
“I assure full cooperation and support to make it a grand success,” Rijiju tweeted.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel, under whose leadership the country successfully hosted the men’s U-17 World Cup in 2017, promised an encore.