FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup postponed "in the best interest" of everyone

The FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup, which was scheduled to be played in India between November 2 and 21, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

FIFA U17 Women's World Cup tournament director, Roma Khanna, said India is still committed to “delivering a memorable” World Cup whenever it is possible.

FIFA U17 Women's World Cup tournament director, Roma Khanna, said India is still committed to “delivering a memorable” World Cup whenever it is possible.   -  Special Arrangement

The postponement of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, scheduled to be played in November in India, will not derail preparations for the tournament as the country is still committed to “delivering a memorable” meet whenever it is possible, Roma Khanna, the tournament director of the Local Organising Committee, said.

FIFA, the world’s governing body for football, on Saturday announced that it took the decision to postpone the tournament after FIFA-Confederations working group, which was recently established by the Bureau of the FIFA Council to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, recommended the same.

READ | FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2020 India postponed

The U-17 World Cup was scheduled to be held at five venues in India from November 2-21.

“We were, of course, looking forward to the tournament but everyone understands the current situation and has been supportive,” Khanna told IANS.

“The fact that three of the venues (Kolkata, Navi Mumbai and Guwahati) have already hosted a FIFA tournament in the past helps and the other venues seem on track. Everyone is committed to ensuring that this does not impact us much and we move ahead with our planning and deliver a memorable U-17 Women’s World Cup in India,” she said.

The coronavirus pandemic has virtually stopped all sporting activities in the world with mega tournaments like Euro 2020 and Copa America being pushed back, besides the Tokyo Olympics also meeting the same fate.

“The safety of all the stakeholders, including players and fans, remain of utmost importance to us. At a time when the everyone globally and the nation is fighting a pandemic, football takes a backseat. Health must always be the first priority and the main criteria in any decision-making process, especially in these challenging times,” said Roma.

ALSO READ | Coronavirus: AIFF supports FIFA's decision to postpone U-17 Women's World Cup

She added that the LOC will work with FIFA to chalk out alternate dates best suited to host the tournament in India, which has previously hosted the U-17 Men’s World Cup that was won by England in 2017.

“We shall work with FIFA to look at alternate dates best suited to host the tournament in India. At present, in collaboration with FIFA, the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Hosting States, national and international health authorities, we are constantly monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19 in India.”

"It is a tough decision but it is in the best interest of everyone especially the players. We look forward to hosting a spectacular FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in the near future,” she concluded.

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