The Fifa Under-17 Women’s World Cup, to be held from November 2 to 21 in India this year, is likely to be affected by the ongoing coronavirus crisis as well.
Only two of the 16 teams – Japan and North Korea – have qualified for the World Cup so far, along with hosts India. As things stand, most of the qualifying tournaments which were to be held over April and May have been postponed as almost all sport activities have been halted in the face of the pandemic.
In response, Fifa has said that they are in touch with the All India Football Federation and other bodies to keep track of the situation and planning alternate dates for the qualifiers.
“We are currently monitoring the situation regarding Covid-19 in India in close collaboration with the Local Organising Committee as well as other key stakeholders, including the AIFF, sports ministry and relevant authorities in the country. With public health and safety in mind, we are also working with the LOC to identify any potential impact of preparations for the tournament, as well as finding alternative solutions to upcoming events that were planned in the lead up to the tournament. Regarding qualifying tournaments for the event, we are currently working closely with confederations regarding alternate dates, a Fifa spokesperson was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Among the delayed events are CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championships, South American U-17 Championships, Oceania U-17 Championship as well as the U-17 Women’s Euros. The only qualifiers still on track are in the African region, continued the report.
Indian cities of Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Kolkata, and Navi Mumbai will host the 16 teams who will compete across 32 matches with the final in Navi Mumbai.
Roma Khanna, the tournament director of the LOC in India, has said that with seven months left for the start of the tournament, there is still time to get alternate plans in place. The two new venues in Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar are close to completion and state authorities have assured of all the help possible.