In light of the current global COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing impact on football, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has taken a number of decisions related to FIFA competitions, with India being given the hosting rights for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022. The 2021 U-17 Women’s World Cup, which was scheduled to be held in India, has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Regarding the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2020 and FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020, FIFA said since the previous decision earlier this year to reschedule both tournaments to early 2021, FIFA has been consulting with all stakeholders – including the host member associations, participating member associations and confederations – to continuously monitor the situation in relation to the pandemic, in particular with regard to any potential impact on the overall welfare and safety of age-group players and participants.
“As a result and after careful consideration of the feedback received by the stakeholders combined with the inability to further postpone these tournaments, the FIFA-Confederations COVID-19 Working Group subsequently recommended that the 2020 editions of the two women’s youth tournaments be cancelled and that the hosting rights for the 2022 editions be offered to the countries that were due to host the 2020 editions,” FIFA said in a statement.
“In light of this, and following further consultation between FIFA and the respective host member associations regarding the 2022 editions of the tournaments, the Bureau of the Council has approved Costa Rica as host of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2022 and India as host of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 respectively,” it added.
As far as FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 is concerned, FIFA said that the tournament, which was originally scheduled for December, “has been subject to the disruptive effect of the pandemic on the confederations’ continental club championships that serve as a pathway for the event.”
“The introduction of strict return-to-play protocols has facilitated a successful resumption of continental club championships the last of which is now scheduled to conclude by the end of January 2021. As a result, the FIFA Club World Cup 2020 will now be held from 1 to 11 February 2021, taking place in Qatar as per the original host appointment by the FIFA Council in June 2019. In line with FIFA’s International Match Protocol, FIFA and the host country will provide the required safeguards for the health and safety of all involved,” FIFA said.
Following the decision regarding the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) released a statement saying that it will continue all the initiatives that were planned for the development and promotion of women’s football.
“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,” AIFF said in a statement.
“We’re thankful to our Host Cities, the five state governments, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, FIFA and fans who continue to support us throughout this journey. This is a pause, and we will continue all the initiatives that were planned for the development and promotion of women’s football. We now look forward to an exciting 2022 with India hosting not one but two international women’s tournaments,” the statement added.
AIFF President and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee Praful Patel thanked FIFA for its support.
“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. 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. We thank FIFA for its support so far and now eagerly look forward to 2022. The journey we have made so far has given our women footballers confidence to compete at the highest level, and we are committed to steering women’s football in the right direction to ensure it achieves the heights it deserves,” Patel said in a statement.