New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) Fifa, the world governing body of football, has postponed the women’s under-17 World Cup, which was to be staged from February 17-March 7 in India, to 2022 due to uncertainty caused by Covid-19 pandemic, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said in a statement. India will remain the host.
The World Cup was originally to be played from November 2 and 21, before being postponed to 2021.
Spain are the defending champions, having won their first title in 2018.
“After the decision to award India the hosting rights for the U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2019, football has received a boost, and the profile of the women’s game has been raised in the country. It is our objective to encourage more girls to take up football and celebrate the game with pride. This development will continue with the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup now scheduled to be hosted in India in 2022,” AIFF said in the statement.
“It is unfortunate that the tournament will not take place in 2021 as the global situation has failed to normalise to a sufficient level to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, future tournaments will benefit from the work put in and progress made so far including the development of eight new training sites in Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar, and renovation of the Kalinga Stadium,” it said.
Praful Patel, AIFF president chairman of the local organising committee, said the World Cup taking place in India in 2022 comes as a “delightful silver lining”.
“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,” he said.