India will have to wait two more years to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after the 2020 edition was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FIFA confirmed on Tuesday.
The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, to be hosted by Costa Rica has also been cancelled.
After COVID-19 forced the football calendar to be halted in March this year, FIFA had decided to push the 2020 editions of the FIFA U-20 and U-17 Women’s World Cup to 2021.
However, FIFA consulted with the host members of both age-group World Cups (Costa Rica and India), participating member associations, and confederations about the challenges of staging the tournaments.
The concerns raised included preparation time, the safety and well-being of the young players.
After much discussion, the ‘FIFA Confederations Working Group’ recommended calling off both the age-group Women’s World Cups and directly holding the next edition of the events in 2022 (age-group World Cups are held every two years).
FIFA also decided to continue with Costa Rica and India as the hosts of the 2020 FIFA U-20 and U-17 Women’s World Cups, as both countries had won the hosting rights initially.
“In light of not being able to host the tournament next year, FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup taking place in India in 2022 comes as a delightful silver lining,” said Praful Patel, President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
“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 headstart from the work that has been already put in,” Praful added. “We thank FIFA for its support so far and now eagerly look forward to 2022.”
The decision now means that all participating nations will have to select new squads for the 2022 editions of the age-group FIFA Women’s World Cups as the current squad will no longer be eligible to play in two years.
In addition to the age-group FIFA Women’s World Cups, the Bureau of FIFA Council also announced that the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup, scheduled to be held in Qatar in December this year, has been postponed.
The 2020 FIFA Club World Cup will now be held between 1-11 February 2021 in Qatar.
2019-20 UEFA Champions League winners Bayern Munich will aim to win a second FIFA Club World Cup, having first won it in 2013.