India is preparing to welcome the future stars of women’s football as the country gears up to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020. After making FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 the most attended FIFA age-group tournament, India will certainly be looking to set new records for the first ever FIFA Women’s football tournament it is hosting and make the country shine again on the world football map.

Although the tournament is a good 11 months away, here is an early lowdown of the event.

Tournament History

The U-17 Women’s World Cup is a more recent addition to FIFA’s list of tournaments with the first edition taking place in New Zealand in 2008. It is one of the three tournaments organised by the world governing body for the women’s game along with the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The tournament is held every two years and North Korea has been the most successful team so far, winning the title twice – in 2008 and 2016. Japan, Spain, South Korea and France have lifted the cup once each.

Preparations

India was appointed as the host of the tournament in a FIFA Council meeting in Miami on 15 March 2019. The tournament will also be the first FIFA event to have an Indian tournament director – Ms. Roma Khanna. Khanna was the Head of Venue Operations during the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.

The preparations have been in full swing and the tournament will kick off on November 2, 2020 with the final to be played on November 21, 2020.The official countdown to the big ticket event started on November 2, 2019 with the Emblem Launch at the Gateway of India.

Popular local and international stars were in attendance – including FIFA Legend Kristine Lilly, the two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner and Olympic gold medallist – as were members of India’s U-17 women’s national team, who will be competing next year to lift the trophy.

Venues

So far, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai have received the provisional clearance by the Local Organising Committee to host the Tournament. The first round of FIFA inspections were concluded on December 2, 2019 with a delegation of FIFA and LOC officials inspecting stadiums in Kolkata, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai, and expressing satisfaction on the preparedness for the tournament. The final ratification of all the venues is still pending.

Qualification

The World Cup will see 16 teams competing, three from AFC – which includes India who have qualified automatically as the hosts of the tournament – and they will be joined by the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship winner Japan and runner-up North Korea. Women’s U-17 Championship will see 20 teams competing to seal three spots in the U-17 WWC. South American U-17 Women’s Championship will also see the top three teams confirming their spot for the main event in India.

The African U-17 Women’s Championship and UEFA Women’s U-17 Championship are also slated to be held in the first half of 2020 and will see the top three teams making their way to India. The OFC will have one representative and the winner of the OFC U-16 Championship will take that spot.