The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Local Organising Committee (LOC) have supported FIFA’s move to postpone the Under-17 Women’s World Cup scheduled to be held in India in November this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The women’s age group showpiece event was scheduled to be played at five venues in the country – Kolkata, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai – from November 2-21. Also Read - English Premier League 2019-20 to Restart From June 17 After Three-Month Break Due to Coronavirus Pandemic: Report
The decision to postpone the mega competition was taken by the FIFA-Confederations working group which was recently established by the Bureau of the FIFA Council to address the consequences of the deadly virus. Also Read - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Counting on Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford to Boost Manchester United's Season Run on Premier League Return
The tournament was to be competed among 16 teams, with hosts India being automatic qualifiers. It was going to be India’s maiden appearance in the U-17 Women’s World Cup. Also Read - Zlatan Ibrahimovic Suffers Calf Injury, Achilles Tendon 'Perfectly Intact', Confirms AC Milan
In a statement, AIFF said they and LOC agree that the decision by FIFA has been made with the highest regard for public health, and the participating teams, host cities, staff and visiting fans, and keeps the best interests of everyone in mind.
“We were, of course, looking forward to hosting the tournament in November this year, but at the same time, we are mindful of all those around the world and in our country potentially impacted by our decisions,” the statement read.
“For us at the moment, the primary concern is the health and wellbeing of every stakeholder involved in the tournament. We don’t want to take any risk that is detrimental to our community before it is clear that there is no threat to people’s health due to this pandemic.
“The LOC and AIFF will work with FIFA to determine the most suitable dates for the tournament. We look forward to hosting a successful tournament in the near future,” the statement added.
The U-17 World Cup was scheduled to be held at five venues in India from November 2-21. However, FIFA has now said that it will identify new dates for the tournament in the near future.
Sporting activities across the world have come to a grinding halt due to COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed more than 58,000 lives so far. In India, close to 3,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported so far while 68 people have lost their lives.
(With Agency Inputs)