FIFA, the world governing body of football, has canceled the 2021 Women’s Under-17 World Cup, which was allotted to India, due to uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the country will now host the 2022 edition, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said in a statement.
The World Cup was original to be played from November 2 and 21 in India, before being postponed to 2021 and was to be staged from February 17-March 7.
“Following due consideration of the situation and taking into account the input of all stakeholders, the FIFA-Confederations Covid-19 Working Group has recommended that the 2020 edition of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup (and FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup) be canceled and that the hosting rights for the 2022 editions be transferred to the countries that were initially planned to host the 2020 edition,” AIFF said in the statement.
“The Bureau of the Council has decided to appoint India as the host of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022,” it said.
AIFF said that it was “unfortunate” that the tournament would not take place in 2021 as the global situation has failed to normalize 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 organizing 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. Spain is the defending champions, having won their first title in 2018.