All India Football Federation (AIFF) is in discussion with world body FIFA to retain the original age criteria of the participating players and finalize new dates for the U-17 Women’s World Cup, AIFF president Praful Patel said on Friday. The Under-17 Women’s World Cup, which was scheduled to be held in India in November, was postponed by football’s governing body (FIFA) last week due to the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. Also Read - I-League Likely to be Postponed to December End in Wake of Coronavirus Pandemic

Patel said the Local Organising Committee (LOC) is working in close collaboration with FIFA to finalize the dates in the ‘earliest possible timeline’. Also Read - Ahead of I-League Qualifiers, Two Footballers Test Positive For Coronavirus

“I am happy to share that we are working with #FIFA to choose a new and earliest possible timeline to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup. The LOC and FIFA are working in close collaboration to finalize new dates keeping health and safety a priority,” Patel wrote on his Twitter handle. Also Read - Gurpreet Singh Sandhu And Sanju Win AIFF Footballer of The Year Awards

“We are also in discussions with #FIFA to keep the age criteria of U-17 Women’s World Cup the same as originally planned, so that all the players who have been working very hard to prepare for the tournament, do not miss an opportunity to play due to the postponement,” Patel added.

The women’s age group showpiece event was to be held at five venues in the country – Kolkata, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad and Navi Mumbai – from November 2-21.

The tournament was to be competed among 16 teams, with hosts India being automatic qualifiers. It was to be India’s maiden appearance in the U-17 Women’s World Cup.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 95,000 people globally, has brought all sporting activities to a halt. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics too has been postponed to next year.

(With Agency Inputs)